Friday, November 10, 2006

Searching for BOBBY

I was five years old when Bobby Kennedy was shot. Being from Massachusetts, this was a big event in my life. I remember seeing the footage on TV and asking my father what had happened. He told me that Kennedy was shot. Somehow, even at age 5, I had known about John Kennedy, and said something along the lines of "that's old news." My father explained to me that it was his brother Bobby.

Emilio Estevez was six when it happened and he remembers telling his father (Martin Sheen) the news. (Funny how Emilio looks about ten years younger than me.)

I'm willing to forgive some of the problems with the film BOBBY because it really has its heart in the right place.

There are a lot of great things about the film. The cast is absolutely phenomenal. Look at this list!
Harry Belafonte
Nick Cannon
Emilio Estevez
Laurence Fishburne
Heather Graham
Anthony Hopkins
Helen Hunt
Ashton Kutcher
Shia LaBeouf
Lindsay Lohan
William H. Macy
Svetlana Metkina
Demi Moore
Freddy Rodríguez
Martin Sheen
Christian Slater
Sharon Stone
Elijah Wood

The movie sounded good and had a good score by Marc Isham. It also had fantastic art direction and wardrobe.

However, there were weaknesses. Some of the writing was a little self-conscious to the point of maudlin. Laurence Fishburne and Martin Sheen both have lengthy monologues that sound more like something out of an acting class than a feature film.

The film uses a technique I mentioned was also used on THE QUEEN. Like Diana in that film, Bobby Kennedy in this film is shown only through actual footage. It works pretty well, but in the climax of the film, they spend way too much time on him and a speech of his, rather than letting the characters we've learned to care about in the previous two hours finish their stories.

An interesting side note: Emilio says that the impetus for this film came when he realized that so many of the film industry people he knew were leaving the business because work in LA is drying up. He was doing a shoot at the Ambassador Hotel and realized, hey, here's a location they CAN NOT POSSIBLY shoot elsewhere. So he started scripting the film.

I admire him for doing this, and for remembering Bobby. We really miss politicians who had that idealism.
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