Complex and troubling, the documentary Oswald's Ghost
examines what happened after
the Kennedy assassination--it is less about possible conspiracies than about how the belief in conspiracies has affected our culture and those who pursued them. The abundance of archival footage of Lee Harvey Oswald after his arrest--sometimes in press conferences, sometimes simply being transported in handcuffs by officers--is startling and fascinating. The interviewees include one-time presidential candidate Gary Hart, former news anchor Dan Rather, author Norman Mailer (who, over the course of researching his book Oswald's Tale
, changed his mind about whether Oswald acted alone), and the numerous authors of books on the subject. Oswald's Ghost
presents arguments from all sides and may upset anyone with a rigid mind about the issue, but its fluid and hypnotic narrative will engage even viewers with only a casual interest in the topic. The extra features, which are just as compelling as the movie itself, include a much more extensive discourse on the Zapruder film and a thoughtful interview with the director, Robert Stone (Guerilla: The Taking of Patty Hearst
), who explains how he wanted to make film that would interest people on either side of the conspiracy question. He succeeded. --Bret Fetzer
The assassination of President Kennedy in Dallas on November 22, 1963 left a psychic wound on America that is with us still today. Few Americans then or now accept that a lone, inconsequential gunman could bring down a president and alter history. In that breach, a culture of conspiracy has arisen that point to sinister forces at work in the shadows. Drawing upon rarely seen archival footage and interviews with key participants, Oswalds Ghost takes a fresh look at Kennedys assassination, the publics reaction to the tragedy, and the government investigations that instead of calming fears lead to a widespread loss of trust in the institutions that govern our society.