A re-telling of the assassination of Senator Robert F. Kennedy at the Ambassador Hotel in 1968. The film follows 22 individuals who are all at the hotel for different purposes but share the common thread of anticipating Kennedy's arrival at the primary election night party, which would change their lives forever. This historic night is set against the backdrop of the cultural issues gripping the country at the time, including racism, sexual inequality and class differences.
Is that distant rumble the
sound of Robert Altman turning in his grave? The ensemble approach of Emilio
Estevez’s film about Bobby Kennedy – which focuses in jigsaw fashion on
several characters on the sidelines of his assassination – has elicited
comparisons with his late compatriot (as do most films with a scattering of
vaguely related characters, from ‘Love, Actually’ to ‘Crash’).
There the parallels end. Estevez’s film is a nostalgic, sanctifying and
cloying study of the hours before the shooting of Kennedy in Los Angeles’
Ambassador Hotel on June 5 1968. His star-studded drama takes place entirely
in and around the hotel, drifting from the kitchens through the lobby and to
the bedrooms, and offers us plenty of sap but very little in the way of
insight about Kennedy himself. The contrast between the starkness of the
film’s archive footage – of Vietnam, riots, Kennedy – and the soapiness of
the drama is awkward and distasteful. Moreover, Estevez presents his entire
film through the prism of wishful thinking which makes for an oddly rosy
view of the past and what might have been. As history, it’s corrupt....
Estevez’s hope is that each character in ‘Bobby’ represents a different facet of America in 1968, so that together they offer a composite view of a nation on the cusp of change – should Kennedy have lived and won the 1968 Presidential election. It’s an ambitious, even admirable idea that isn’t matched by the script. ‘Bobby’ is hopelessly well-intentioned. It’s also inescaply reckless and fatally obsessed with shoehorning a celebrity into every corner. Its tales are soppy and wistful, one and all, and the contrast between the reality and the drama is hard to bear.
Theatrical Release: September 6th, 2006 - Venice Film Festival
DVD Review: The Weinstein Company - Region 1 - NTSC
|DVD Box Cover||
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|Distribution||The Weinstein Company - Region 1 - NTSC|
Average Bitrate: 5.81 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.
|Audio||English (Dolby Digital)|
|Subtitles||English, Spanish, None|
The Making of An American Epic (28:31)
I had high expectations for this film, being keen on the topic, but I think in the end I was left a little wanting.
The DVD looks a notch less than one might expect from a modern film to DVD transfer. It is a shade glossy at times and the colors are a bit too toned down (I expect this was to give the effect of the time frame) - but for all I know it was meant to look like this. It does give the hint of some form of digital manipulation though. Like with the film itself, I suppose I was just not overwhelmed. It is progressive, anamorphic and sports rather large intrusive optional subtitles. Audio is fairly unremarkable but consistent and doesn't play a big role in the appreciation of the film.
The supplements give us a trailer and two featurettes. Bobby: The Making of An American Epic is 28:31 has Estevez discussing his intentions for the project - why he is interested and how much he learned in the filmmaking process. There are other members of the production team giving input. Eyewitness Accounts from the Ambassador Hotel (29:12) has a group onstage with 6 people who takes turns at the microphone explaining what they witnessed at the Ambassador Hotel on the fateful day. These are decent supplements and the latter is worth watching from a historical standpoint.
I found the sum of the film did not equal the parts but I had a moderate level of anticipation and interest during my viewing. My advice would be not to expect too much and you may gain some entertainment value.