If the Toronto International Film Festival has a theme this year, it is definitely “Based on a True Story.”
From the harrowing tale of Solomon Northup in “12 Years a Slave” to the ripped-from-the-headlines Wikileaks drama “The Fifth Estate," the ‘70s set racing flick “Rush” and the biopic “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,” some of the biggest movies set to play TIFF 2013 focus on real people and real events.
This week, prospective festival goers got a first look at another such fact-filled film. “Parkland” is a star-studded drama based around one of the most infamous events of the 20th century: the 1963 assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy.
Directed by writer-turned-filmmaker Peter Landesman, “Parkland” stars Zac Efron as Jim Carrico, the young surgeon who was on duty at Parkland Memorial Hospital when the mortally wounded President was brought in. The film features an absolutely top-notch supporting cast that includes Billy Bob Thornton, James Badge Dale, Paul Giamatti, Jacki Weaver, Jackie Earle Haley, Tom Welling and Marcia Gay Harden.
The Kennedy assassination has been a frequent film subject over the years, but its most notable cinematic depiction came courtesy of director Oliver Stone’s 1991 movie “JFK.” Where Stone’s film focused on coverups and conspiracy theories, “Parkland” looks at the regular folks who were swept up in the terrible events on that cold November afternoon in Dallax, Texas. The film follows characters like Secret Service Agent Forrest Sorrels (Thornton) and Abraham Zapruder (Giamatti), the man who unwittingly capture Kennedy's assassination on film, as well as the brother (Dale) and mother (Weaver) of alleged assassin Lee Harvey Oswald. “Parkland” may have been under-the-radar until now, but it is definitely one to watch for at TIFF 2013.
The 2013 Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 5 - 15