Killer Theories

30 years ago, film director Oliver Stone released JFK, one of the most significant movies in his already decorated career. An investigation into the murder of President John F. Kennedy seen through the eyes of Louisiana District Attorney Jim Garrison, this three-hour drama gained eight Oscar nominations, winning two, and was a major box office hit. It also generated much negativity in the American media, with many accusing the film of stirring conspiracy theories about the death of JFK.

Now Stone is back with JFK Revisited: Through The Looking Glass, a documentary that picks up the threads of the JFK case and looks at them through a dispassionate lens. Interviewing an array of experts, ranging from historians to forensics and ballistics specialists, Stone sifts through the evidence. He’s not alone either, with the film scripted by James DiEugenio, who has written several books on the subject.

Filmed by Robert Richardson, Stone’s original cinematographer on JFK, and narrated by Whoppi Goldberg and Donald Sutherland (who played the mysterious government operative Mr. X in the film), there’s something utterly absorbing about Stone’s movie. Is it worth re-visiting a case that is now close to sixty years old? Yes, in the sense that classified documents belonging to the CIA, FBI and the Warren Commission, the body set up to investigate Kennedy’s murder, have been released in the intervening years by the Assassination Records Review Board.

There’s much to consider, from the bullet that killed Kennedy and photographic autopsy evidence both being tampered with to the debunking of the ‘magic bullet’ theory suggested by the Warren Commission. One of the most intriguing aspects considers the lost testimony of Elizabeth Adams, a secretary who worked in the Texas School Book Depository where Lee Harvey Oswald was supposed to have fired the fatal bullet from. Her statement, backed by two colleagues, swears he could not have been on the sixth floor, as the Warren Commission claimed.

With interviewees including Robert Kennedy Jr, the nephew to JFK, this is as thorough as documentaries get. Whether or not you buy into the idea that forces in the U.S. government were responsible for Kennedy’s death – as Stone’s JFK movie suggested – its tantalizing stuff. Anyone fascinated by this case cannot ignore JFK Revisited: Through The Looking Glass.

JFK Revisited: Through The Looking Glass is available in cinemas from 26 November. For more details, click here.

James Mottram