That all made watching the last few minutes of this film very difficult for me, even though the incident took place nearly four decades ago.
The assassination segment is gut wrenching to say the least, as are the newsreel clips of Kennedy on the campaign trail.
Other positives of the film are the acting and overall direction from Emelio Estevez.
The problem for me with this film was, I could not get a real handle on what it was saying. About 90 percent of the movie gives us capsule glimpses into the lives of people either working or staying at the Ambassdor before the shooting.
We find out the hotel manager is having an affair with a switchboard operator, a bus boy has Dodger tickets he will not be able to use, two college age nerds drop acid for the first time, and a comely young lady is going to marry a boy to keep him from being sent to Vietnam. (I'm not sure that actually worked, as many married men I knew wound up getting sent to Nam in that era. And I met many others while I was in the army.) Okay, the idea was to show us, not just a cross section of 60s culture, but also a glimpse into the lives touched by the assassination. Trouble is, we got a lot of their back stories, but since the film ends with the shooting, we never get to see what impact this terrible night had on them, other than that some, but not all of them, are among the wounded.
Consequently, it is never clear to me what all these stories add up to. For instance, Anthony HOpkins and Harry Bellefonte play a couple of retired hotel doormen who are apparently allowed to spend their retirement years hanging out in the hotel lobby, playing chess. Cute, but irrelevant to the story, since they don't even talk about politics on this, California primary day.
Again, some of these people are apparently fictionalized versions of those wounded, but they all survive and what we never find out is, was this incident life changing for them. And if it was, is it any different for them than it is for any other crime victim? For me, the assassination was and I eventually dropped out and went to Europe for a while. I don't know what happens to the people here and since I got so much back story, I feel cheated. Did the hotel manager and his wife reconcile? Did the boy who got shot get sent to Nam anyway? Did the two college boys become hard core stoners? Did either of them score with the hot lunch counter waitress?
I think this script needed some major adjustments to make the film work for me.