The story of the assassination of U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy who was shot in the early morning hours of June 5, 1968 in the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, and 22 people in the hotel whose lives were never the same.
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Tuesday, June 4, 1968: the California presidential primary. As day breaks Robert F. Kennedy arrives at the Ambassador Hotel; he'll campaign, then speak to supporters at midnight. To capture the texture of the late 1960s, we see vignettes at the hotel: a couple marries so he can avoid Vietnam, kitchen staff discuss race and baseball, a man cheats on his wife, another is fired for racism, a retired hotel doorman plays chess in the lobby with an old friend, a campaign strategist's wife needs a pair of black shoes, two campaign staff trip on LSD, a lounge singer is on the downhill slide. Through it all, we see and hear RFK calling for a better society and a better nation. Written by
It's easy to get caught up in the "too many characters" argument or that there are too many stories left unfinished or incomplete. IMO, it's important to remember this is a snapshot of just ONE day. How much are we expected to know about any of the characters in that time period? How much do you learn about the guy sitting next to you on the plane with whom you visit during a three hour flight? I admit that at first I was thinking, "Okay Emilio, where are you going with this and why do I care about all these people?" It seemed a little disjointed to me. But then I found myself going with it and appreciating the idea that we were getting a glimpse into the lives of a few of the people at the Ambassador hotel that day. I thought the performances by all were very strong, although I'll admit it was next to impossible to get beyond the all-star cast, simply because the plot isn't structured to bring you close enough to the characters to lose sight of who is playing the role. But again, in the end it didn't matter because the artistry of it all--the music, the camera shots, the inclusion of film and audio footage of Bobby Kennedy, the significance of these characters we've been following throughout... it just worked for me. It is also hard to ignore how much RFK's message resonates in our political climate today. As the credits rolled, at least half of the audience remained in their seats, from those sitting in stunned silence to others almost sobbing. Complete strangers were gathered outside the theater, talking about the movie or their own memories of Kennedy. It is clearly a labor of love for Emilio but I think he did a fabulous job.
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