Parkland (2013)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 13-Nov-2013

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Trailer-To the Wonder, Behind the Candelabra
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2013
Running Time 89:39
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Peter Landesman

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Zac Efron
Colin Hanks
Marcia Gay Harden
Billy Bob Thornton
Ron Livington
James Badge Dale
Jacki Weaver
Case ?
RPI ? Music James Newton Howard

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (256Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Parkland Memorial Hospital is the hospital in Dallas, Texas where the dying President John F. Kennedy was taken after being shot on 22 November 1963: the same hospital to which his alleged assassin Lee Harvey Oswald was taken after being shot by Jack Ruby two days later. Parkland is based on the book Four Days in November: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy by Vincent Bugliosi.

     Parkland is a reconstruction of the fateful day in November when JFK was shot, and the four days which followed made in a quasi-historical style with a large cast, in the same way as films such as The Longest Day or A Bridge To Far. The events of November 1963 are well known and well documented, so there are no surprises in Parkland; the drama revolves around the lives of some of the people caught up in the events. There is some archival footage in the film, but in the main Parkland uses moving cameras catching half heard conversations, with people sometimes half out of frame and individuals and locations are introduced through captions. In this case the technique works and the film feels very authentic.

     What the film does do well is to capture the confusion and shock caused by the assassination, the frantic efforts of the doctors and nurses at Parkland (played by Zac Efron, Colin Hanks, Marcia Gay Harden) to save Kennedy, and the efforts of the Secret Service Agents, led by Dallas Chief Forrest Sorrels (Billy Bob Thornton) to try to establish just what had happened. Also depicted in the film are the actions of Agent James Hosty (Ron Livington), who had been tracking Lee Harvey Oswald and who was criticised by his superior for the perceived failure to prevent the assassination. Perhaps more unusually, Parkland also follows Abraham Zapruder (Paul Giamatti), the man who shot the only film of the assassination and the emotional impact this had on him, and the consequences of the shooting upon Lee Harvey Oswald’s decent brother Robert (James Badge Dale) and somewhat dotty mother (Jacki Weaver), who always maintained that Lee was a US agent who had been set up.

     Parkland is directed by Peter Landesman, who also adapted the book. Parkland is his first work as director and he does a good job, aided by some experienced people such as composer James Newton Howard (The Dark Knight (2008), The Bourne Legacy (2012)) and cinematographer Barry Ackroyd, who is no stranger to making films feel authentic (The Hurt Locker (2008), Green Zone (2010)). As a result, Parkland punches well above its weight.

     Parkland finishes with allegations about the destruction of evidence by the Secret Service and the juxtaposition of two funerals, that of JFK and Oswald, where Robert Oswald displays calm dignity. Parkland may not be the last word on the assassination of JFK 50 years ago but is an impressive achievement. It is well constructed, well-acted and feels authentic, and its scope, covering people caught up in the events including the family of Lee Harvey Oswald, even handed. This film goes behind the headlines, and scenes such as the squabble over the body of JFK and the jurisdictional overlap between Secret Service, FBI and the Dallas Police, is intriguing.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


     Parkland is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, the original ratio, and is 16x9 enhanced.

     Except for the archival footage, the print is sharp with good detail. The colours are natural, brightness and contrast consistent, blacks solid and shadow detail good. There was some slight ghosting with movement but the most noticeable artefact was aliasing that affected James Badge Dale’s jacket in most scenes. Otherwise marks and artefacts were absent.

     English subtitles for the hearing impaired are available in a clear white font.

     A print looked fine, except for that jacket!

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


     Audio is an English Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448 Kbps and also available is English descriptive audio for the vision impaired.

     This was a film where snatches of dialogue are intentional, such as in the operating theatre; otherwise all dialogue was clear and easy to hear. There was not a lot for the surrounds to do; the rears supported the music and added occasional effects such as the heart monitor in the operating theatre. The subwoofer added bass to the score when required.

    I did not notice any lip synchronisation problems.

     The original score by James Newton Howard was excellent, adding atmosphere and supporting the visuals.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



     On start-up there were trailers for To the Wonder (1:44) and Behind the Candelabra (1:57). These trailers cannot be selected from the menu.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The Region 1 US release of Parkland has the same specifications as our Region 4 version, except for being NTSC, but it adds as extras an audio commentary by director Peter Landesman and some deleted scenes (6:38). A win to Region 1.


     Parkland is an impressive achievement by Peter Landesman, even handed, well-constructed, well-acted and feeling authentic. It may not be the last word on the assassination of JFK, but I learned a lot I did not know and was thoroughly entertained. Recommended.

     The video and audio are good. There are no relevant extras, and we miss out on those available in Region 1.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Friday, May 02, 2014
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE