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The Secret KGB JFK Assassination Files (1999)

TV Movie  -   -  Documentary  -  11 July 2000 (USA)
5.9
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Ratings: 5.9/10 from 54 users  
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On Nov. 22, 1963 the world was shocked by the assassination of John F. Kennedy. The mystery surrounding this history-changing event has led to many unanswered questions.

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Title: The Secret KGB JFK Assassination Files (TV Movie 1999)

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On Nov. 22, 1963 the world was shocked by the assassination of John F. Kennedy. The mystery surrounding this history-changing event has led to many unanswered questions.

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11 July 2000 (USA)  »

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A KGB titkos Kennedy-aktái  »

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What KGB files...?!
23 August 2003 | by (Charlotte, NC, USA) – See all my reviews

This program contains sadly little substantive information concerning the KGB's involvement in the JFK assassination investigation. Instead the filmmakers launch into their own lengthy, digressive, convoluted spiel that ends in supporting only a couple perfunctory points of the assassination mystery, backed by a few dollops of KGB testimony. Thus the misleading title of this documentary smacks of the sensationalist American media approach that is best left to the tabloids, lest it take advantage of your gullibility as a curious observer. This is 15 minutes of information stretched into 89 minutes of blubber.

According to imdb.com's filmography director David McKenzie has little other experience as a documentarian, and it shows in his "The Secret KGB JFK Assassination Files". The film's content and structure seem designed more to perpetuate perplexity rather than to contribute to the rational understanding of its subject, as a legitimate documentary should do. Host Roger Moore's alluring presence and tone quickly break down into redundancy as the film's spiraling logic returns us recursively to a shallow "gosh, whodunit?" premise of this 40 year old controversy. Further exacerbating the program's fallacies is the fact that it is created/edited to be shown on American TV, which means structuring it for commercial breaks. The effect is that every 15 to 20 minutes we waste time preparing for and recovering from a short-attention-span pause that doesn't exist for the DVD viewer (a la "don't go away, we'll be right back!"). Finally, the icing on this cake of tedium is spread in the form of its incessant soundtrack, which pervades every second with distracting, self-indulgently haunting music.

Throughout the program we are sparsely exposed to enticing KGB testimony that might redeem the title, but disappointingly the choppy interviews offer only a couple ideas that might make KGB involvement interesting. Much of the rest of the time is spent chasing tangential ideas, such as what motives the Mafia or Communist leaders might have had to kill JFK, that are completely outside the scope of this film.

51 minutes into the program we are finally given what might appear to be some actual, solidified KGB documentation of their JFK investigation. But despairingly this comes in the form of a single folder of blurry documents purchased by the producers on the black market from unidentified, unsubstantiated resources, shown via an over-dramatized hidden camera scene. A few minutes later there occurs what could be a revealing scientific study of the crime scene using laser technology to recreate the Dallas, TX events of November 22, 1963. Unfortunately, not only does this nauseatingly detailed 20-plus minute segment ignore the KGB angle, but the filmmakers fall way short of convincingly portraying the conclusions of said exhaustive study.

In the last chapter of the film the producers finally present a concise, organized set of points outlining their theories. However, less than half the items are related to the KGB's enlightenment, and none of them justify the depth of this production whatsoever. By the end of the show the filmmakers smugly advance their two main theories that A) all the gunshots came from behind JFK's car (no shots were fired from the grassy knoll or anywhere else in front); and B) more than one gunman was involved. The KGB ballistic `evidence' and interviews are presented to corroborate these theories. However, though plausible, none of all this is made convincing to the audience before the closing credits roll. Furthermore, much contradictory evidence is meanwhile presented without resolution before the documentary's tidy conclusion.

If you are completely unfamiliar with the world tragedy of JFK's assassination and the hoopla surrounding it, then this program might be a mildly informative, if difficult to follow, introduction. However, if you are even casually familiar with the assassination chronicle (even if only via Oliver Stone's 1991 fictionalized JFK movie) then this documentary will advance your understanding of the debate about as much as, well, a shot in the head.


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