starring Harry Belafonte, Anthony Hopkins, Sharon Stone, Lindsay Lohan, Martin Sheen, Helen Hunt, Christian Slater, Emilio Estevez, Laurence Fishburne, William H. Macy,
Demi Moore and Elijah Wood
written and directed by Emilio Estevez
This is a great film. You must see it. It features an all-star cast, but the story doesn’t settle for long on any one character. The film is about the day that Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated in The Ambassador Hotel, in Los Angeles, California in June 1968. It is not about the assassination itself, or about Bobby Kennedy himself. It is more about the lives of the people in the hotel on that terrible day and how the historic event touched their lives. In that way, it is a skillful study in human anthropology. Additionally, the film carries a message about the nobility of public service, a message that Robert Kennedy and his older brother, President John Kennedy firmly held. Or, at least, the gloriously uplifting, charismatic and enervating Kennedy rhetoric made it sound that way. You don’t hear talk these days about the nobility of public service like what you used to from the Kennedys. Oh, sure, you do hear it. But there is a widespread cynicism in American society towards government, public service and social duty that too often makes it seem like a dirty word, or a depraved career choice.
Estevez uses a nice mix of period music and original television clips of the Senator to give a feeling for 1968. 1968 really was a terrible year for America - the deaths of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy, race riots in Los Angeles, police riots in Chicago, the Black Panthers, the Tet Offensive in Vietnam and the worsening quagmire in that conflict. 1968 has been describes as a“hole in time:” The Beatles White Album, the shooting of Andy Warhol, the death of Brian Epstein, Charles Manson and the election of Richard Nixon. I started Kindergarten. There was a lot of stuff going on.