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Billy Bob Thornton,
Out of work TV cameraman Ron Kobelski is approached by his formerly reclusive neighbor Walter Ohlinger. Ohlinger claims that he was the mysterious "second gunman" that shot and killed President Kennedy. Ohlinger has kept quiet all these years, but has decided to tell his story now that he has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Kobelski is skeptical of his neighbor's story, after his investigations provide ambiguous answers. His attitude changes, however, after he receives threatening messages on his answering machine, and spots shadowy figures in his backyard. Is Ohlinger telling the truth? Or is there a bigger conspiracy at work? Written by
How did you meet Walter Ohlinger?
I met Walter 'cause he lived down the street from me. Somehow he knew that I was a camera man at KXBC, that I did the news there. Actually I'd just been laid-off, but he didn't know that. Any way, he said he'd committed a crime many years ago, never been caught, and he wanted to talk about it.
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Although it seems strange that the film (apparently coincidentally) opens on the day of the 39th anniversary of JFK's assassination, it thankfully stands on its own as an intriguing look at the possibility of the "grassy knoll gunman" theory. While it is by no means a conspiracy or propaganda film, it is, in fact, a "fake documentary" a la Blair Witch, that seems often very real thanks to Raymond J. Barry's amazing performance as a nut (or is he?) who claims to be the second shooter in the President Kennedy's assassination. His commanding presence adds a sense of danger and seriousness that makes the film such an impressive and challenging piece of work.
First time writer/director Neil Burger brings you in to the story and keeps you wrapped up in it in a way that most great feature films do, while still having that gritty documentary feel. Dylan Haggerty plays the cameraman who is "lucky" enough to become involved in such a dangerous story that he cannot decide if his subject is for real or not until he goes over the edge.
It's a fascinating concept, really. Imagine someone with information of that magnitude coming forth with his story only because he has a few months left to live. Would anyone really let that happen? As closely guarded as the true evidence is, you can bet that it wouldn't, which is also examined here in a fantastically twisted web of paranoia, obsession, and fantasy.
For anyone that's ever had a fascination or interest in the JFK assassination, this is a must see. Art house folks will probably eat this one up as well, as it is challenging and thoughtful, and completely free of any Hollywood gloss - what a combination! This one is definitely worth catching in the theater.
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