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#16 - JFK
Oliver Stone, 1991



In the wake of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, New Orleans D.A. Jim Garrison (Kevin Costner) launches his own investigation into the seemingly open-and-shut case.

JFK conspiracy theories always were kind of interesting and even though Stone's film emerges as a sort of docudrama that doesn't seem particularly concerned with its characters and their arcs so much as being an epic big-screen adaptation of Garrison's investigative report. There's a fairly basic crusade-for-justice kind of narrative where Garrison and his team are constantly threatened and bullied by all sorts of people for daring to even question the cover story and of course the investigation taking its toll on Garrison's home life, but they neither add to nor necessarily subtract from the film. What's interesting here is the vividly depicted search for the truth.

It's not surprising that this film won Oscars for both cinematography and editing. The footage in this film (the original stuff, obviously) veers between professional colour photography and grainy black-and-white at the drop of a hat as Stone and co. attempt to simulate various different types of camera. The same goes for the style, as there are carefully measured shots and also quick, jagged shots. The editing is also a star because despite there being a lot of frantic cuts between so many different types of images, it somehow doesn't feel like a pain to watch. Even when you're getting bombared with information, whether it's Garrison outlining his theory about the innocence of Lee Oswald (Gary Oldman) or a government informant (Donald Sutherland) delivering a load of exposition to Garrison, it's all paced in such a way that it stays interesting.

Though the fact that the film is more concerned with actual conspiracy theories rather than any sort of compelling or original narrative, it ultimately doesn't matter when it comes to JFK. A well-made film on all fronts with an excellent all-star cast to back it up, it's just a damn fine piece of work.