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I saw The Commission at a Warren Commission conference. The film was disappointing even though there are some interesting elements of value in the movie.
The acting performances were good in many places and the switches from one shot to another with interesting changes in camera angle were extremely good. But some of the more significant scenes for the thesis of the film, particularly Martin Landau as Senator Richard Russell, were stiff and halting as if there were no underlying aesthetic momentum. I got the impression in these places that more takes might have smoothed out the film.
I was reminded of Landau as Bela Lugosi in the Ed Wood biopic and it was difficult not to laugh.
The director sticks to the dialogue generated by the Warren Commission hearings and report and some of the stiffness results from this particular choice. And the director has a particular bias about the Warren Commission which is not substantiated at all by the historical record so that a perspicacious viewer is put off by the film because it seems jury-rigged and preachingly hokey. There are also some serious misinterpretations of conversations between Russell and then President Lyndon Johnson which are historically weak and unperceptive again in the service of the director's thesis.
Some of the hard-core evidence refuting the director's thesis is simply left out. For example, the exchange between Arlen Spector and Governor Connally's doctor, Dr. Shaw, in which Specter develops some iron clad facts about Connally's wounds vis-a-vis the single bullet theory, doesn't appear in the film despite its significance in the commission's work itself. This elision gives a false and seriously misleading impression of the conceptual texture of the Commission and might be seen by some as a striking moral failing.
The major problem with the film then is its rather frightening disregard for the real evidence in the JFK case.
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