I have always been a huge fan of filmmaker Oliver Stone. I think he's a brave, bold, brilliant filmmaker, who's gone through some great difficulties and challenges in his life. He was a Vietnam Veteran and his work, especially in the 80's and 90's, and even more recently with his documentary series "The Untold History of the United States" (highly recommended). His film "JFK" came out in 1991 to great acclaim but also great controversy. Is the film an accurate representation of what really went down? I'm not sure, there are plenty of factual inaccuracies but they're mainly because of Stone's use of dramatic license.
Critics and the press took Stone to task for these supposed outrageous inaccuracies. The great late film critic Roger Ebert recalls seeing Walter Cronkite leaving a screening of the film and freaking out because of how inaccurate it was. Ebert went on to point out something that I think is a fantastic:
"I have no doubt Cronkite was correct, from his point of view. But I am a film critic and my assignment is different than his. He wants facts. I want moods, tones, fears, imaginings, whims, speculations, nightmares. As a general principle, I believe films are the wrong medium for fact. Fact belongs in print. Films are about emotions. My notion is that “JFK” is no more, or less, factual than Stone's “Nixon” or “Gandhi,” “Lawrence of Arabia,” “Gladiator,” “Amistad,” “Out of Africa,” “My Dog Skip” or any other movie based on “real life.” All we can reasonably ask is that it be skillfully made and seem to approach some kind of emotional truth."
A couple of hours ago, Stone wrote an opinion article for USA Today entitled: "JFK conspiracy deniers are in denial: Mainstream media have never given up telling us how superstitious or illogical the common people are."
Stone goes on to point out many flaws, he feels, in mainstream coverage of the JFK assassination. He has many links to web pages and books and documentaries that support his views. I highly recommend reading these articles and taking a look for yourself, coming up with your own opinion. I believe that there was something fishy and conspiracy worthy about the whole assassination. Many questions and issues still remain, for instance Stone points out:
"As Friday approaches, please take a moment to remember that no professional marksman has replicated the Warren Commission scenario with Oswald's flawed rifle. To my knowledge, there have been at least four attempts with professionals to simulate the shooting without that rifle. No person ever achieved what the commission said Oswald did on the first try, i.e., attain two of three direct hits in the head and shoulder area to Kennedy in six seconds. This alleged shooting has been achieved only with computer simulations."
The article is from today's USA Today, here is the link.
Finally, I wanted to post Siskel and Ebert's review of "JFK" from 1991. The opinions they have of the film are exactly mine to a tee. I tend to focus on the film as a work of artistic cinema, and not, as many criticize it for, a historical document.