Blu-Ray Review: Special Edition of ‘JFK’ Still Captivates

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CHICAGO – As the 2008 awards season kicks into high gear, it’s a good time to catch up with one of the most acclaimed and nominated films of seventeen years ago, Oliver Stone’s “JFK” in a classy and well-packaged Blu-Ray edition from Warner Brothers.

In the months leading up to the 1991 release of “JFK”, the controversy surrounding the film and its conspiracy theories was deafening, but the quality of Oliver Stone’s epic film overruled the negative buzz, leading to eight Oscar nominations, including Best Picture.

JFK: Director's Cut
JFK: Director’s Cut

Oliver Stone’s three-and-a-half hour film chronicles the drama around the most resonant gunshot of the twentieth century. Starring Kevin Costner, Kevin Bacon, Tommy Lee Jones, Gary Oldman, and many more, this version of the film includes 17 added minutes that were not shown theatrically and truly do enrich the entire film. This is an actual “director’s cut”, not just reinserted deleted scenes, and the version that Stone recognizes as the final statement on “JFK”.

Packaged like a hardcover book, the “JFK” Blu-Ray release includes a commentary by director Oliver Stone - a man who loves to talk about his own work and could probably fill two tracks with his thoughts on his film - a feature-length documentary called “Beyond JFK: The Question of Conspiracy”, deleted/extended scenes, an alternate ending, multimedia essays, and a theatrical trailer. The packaging also includes interesting liner notes about the film itself and its stars.

One of the most expertly shot films of the ’90s by the masterful Robert Richardson, “JFK” really benefits from the Blu-Ray upgrade and its crystal clear 1080p High Definition 16x9 2:40:1 video transfer. The audio is similarly impressive with a Dolby TrueHD English 5.1 track.

Why release a special edition of “JFK” now? With Oliver Stone’s “W.” out of theaters and preparing for an early 2009 Blu-Ray release, last month’s election, the holiday season, and the awards season in full swing, it makes sense in the world of home entertainment. It’s a release that won’t get the buzz of the Summer 2008 movies landing on the format this month, but could be one of the most satisfying of the season.

JFK’ is released by Warner Brothers on Blu-Ray and stars Kevin Costner, Kevin Bacon, Tommy Lee Jones, Laurie Metcalf, Gary Oldman, Michael Rooker, and Sissy Spacek. It was written by Oliver Stone & Zachary Sklar and directed by Stone. It was released on November 11th, 2008.

Staff Writer

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