Most people, when looking to make a film about the Kennedy’s, would most likely go for JFK, particularly if you were looking at a political movie about the Kennedy’s. Writer Noah Oppenheim (The Maze Runner, Allegiant) takes a very different approach with Jackie, focusing on Jackie Kennedy, obviously. A brave move or is he barking up the wrong tree?
I think most of you will know that the story is about Jackie and her coming to terms with her husband having just been assassinated. She’s being interviewed by a journalist in her own home and the rest of the story is told in flashbacks to the time immediately following the deadly shooting.
Sometimes, after a film, I’ll wonder who on earth dished out the money to have the movie made. I think in all cases I think that because the film has been terrible. In the case of Jackie however, I was thinking part-way through who dished out the money and why this movie even exists.
Natalie Portman (Black Swan, Leon) is truly amazing as Jackie. She has her movements and her speech down to perfection. Her performance is, as I’m sure you’ve heard about, very, very good. But then, was anyone in any doubt as to how good an actress Portman was/is? I wasn’t. I’ve never heard anyone question her ability. So, take that out of the equation and we’re left with a dull, flat film that goes nowhere and does so slowly.
There are times when director Pablo Larrain (The Club, Tony Manero) is so close to the actors with his shots that I half expect them to look into the camera and tell him to move back. It’s as if he became mesmerized by Portman’s portrayal and so just took to following her around the mocked-up White House. Or sit on a sofa and took to Billy Crudup (Watchmen, Almost Famous) who plays the journalist.
There are some clever moments; as we go into flashback Larrain intersperses actual footage from the events with the modern film. It’s very well done and works well, but it’s not enough to make an entire film out of.
There are some fantastic actors in the movie like; Peter Sarsgaard (Knight and Day, Jarhead), Richard E. Grant (Withnail & I, Dom Hemmingway) and including the late, great John Hurt (Alien, Hellboy). But again, it’s not enough to move the film along at any sort of pace, or generate any sort of interest other than ‘oh look who it is’.
A fantastic performance but then, where we in any doubt, within a lifeless film (no pun intended) that exists for reasons best known to others in this world.