Chris Knipp Writing: Movies, Politics, Art


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2020 3:24 pm 
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TODD KWAIT, ROB STEGMAN: TRUTH IS THE ONLY CLIENT: THE OFFICIAL INVESTIGATON OF THE MURDER OF JOHN F. KENNEDY (2019)

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Despite the conspiracy theorists, we do know what happened

Kwait and Stegman are like this title: plodding, explicit, confident, clear. they don't make it sexy. They don't beat around the bush. They interview a lot of older men (and two key women), primarily surviving staff lawyers of the Warren Commission who investigated President Kennedy's death, and also several dozen outside experts. Reviewing events and the investigation from the point of view of these participants, they show all that is proven and known, and why the many conspiracy theories about Kennedy's assassination are without merit. (There are so many theories because they are all wrong.) It was only Lee Harvey Oswald, the lone shooter, and Jack Ruby, who killed Oswald, and the facts do not admit of other possibilities. They both acted unpremeditatedly and in no collusion with organized crime or others.

These people interviewed, and the filmmakers, know Americans find this hard to believe. The film, especially through the two women (Ruth Paine, owner of the home where Marina Oswald lived in November 1963, and Patricia Johnson McMillan, who knew both Oswald and Kennedy, and is author of [url="https://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2013/11/07/lee-harvey-oswald"]Marina and Lee[/url]), provides an unusually detailed picture of Oswald and what he was doing in the lead-up to the shooting. There is a detailed account of his relationship with his Russian wife, Marina.

There is also a sense conveyed, through meeting these men, of the integrity of the Commission and its work. These were lawyers, but this was not a trial, hence "truth was the only client," and no facts were suppressed. It's conceded that the CIA and FBI's covering up of their activities - especially their plan to kill Castro - muddied the waters and has fueled conspiracy doubts ever since. This film expels mystery; it's not sexy. But it reveals some things, such as photos of Kennedy's head and body as he lay in the morgue, not shown at the time, and goes into great detail about the bullets' trajectories, the Zapruder film, the "grassy knoll" - all that stuff. If you finish this film still full of doubts, it's likely because you want to have them. For those willing to be content with what is indisputably known and decisive, however unsexy, this is a very satisfying film.

Truth Is the Only Client: The Official Investigation of the Murder of John F. Kennedy, 150 mins., released by Gravitas Ventures direct-to-VOD on November 17, 2020.

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