By midlandsmovies, Nov 23 2018 12:57PM
Chappaquiddick (film) Dir. John Curran
This film highlights an historical incident from 1969 when US Senator Ted Kennedy drove his car into Poucha Pond killing a girl called Mary Jo Kopechne and then focuses on the subsequent media fallout.
The main facts from the case make for dark inspection as Kennedy drives from a beach party and crashes into water before returning to the house where he asks 2 friends to assist. But after failing to rescue her they advise him to go to the police that night. But for some reason he doesn’t. He goes back to his hotel and back to bed. A man in shock or an act of political protection? Well, the film definitely portrays the latter.
So let’s be honest here, the film doesn’t make the Senator look in any way sympathetic. The car is subsequently found by members of the public and Kennedy returns to his family’s estate to instigate some serious media damage control.
Jason Clarke as Ted Kennedy is fantastic and the film’s supporting cast is solid throughout. At the film’s conclusion we are told Ted continued in the U.S. Senate for 40 years – highlighting how that even when causing a death, nothing can really stop your career when you come from American royalty like the Kennedys.
Ed Helms, looking strangely like the manager from The Incredibles and Clancy Brown are the best of the rest whilst Bruce Dern is as cantankerous as ever as Kennedy senior. Kate Mara is strong but given the story, she is"offed" early in the movie - although her sympathetic portrayal makes Kennedy's actions all the more unfathomable.
The film is a solid biopic and if anything made me feel slightly disgusted by the actions on screen but doesn’t truly hold as much weight as it should other than Clarke’s captivating central performance.
The Kennedy family and their powerful friends have unsurprisingly called the film a “fabrication” but the film rightly sticks to its guns in order to remind us all of the political machinations of a country slowly falling away from its morals in a way that maintains the sleazy status quo. A passable political potboiler.