June 6th, 1968,
the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles prepares for the arrival of Robert F.
Kennedy as he waits to see if he has been nominated as the Democratic party's
presidential candidate. As the anticipation of his arrival grows, the staff
of the hotel prepare, a singer gets ready of her last performance of the
season, a young couple are about to get married, a marriage falls apart,
an affair ends, drugs are discovered and lives are changed for ever. None
of them will forget this day.
Emilio Estevez gathers
together all his friends to tell a collection of stories but can this all-star
cast do justice to the legacy of Robert F. Kennedy?
A huge star in the
1980s and one of the founders of the notorious 'Brat Pack', Emilio Estevez
never really continued his success through the 90s, unlike his fellow stars
from the era like Tom Cruise, Rob Lowe, Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, Keifer
Sutherland and his brother Charlie Sheen, starring in movies like 'The Mighty
Ducks' franchise and 'Loaded Weapon 1'. Now he has turned his hand to directing,
refining his skills on hit TV shows like 'CSI: NY', 'Cold Case' and 'Close
to Home' before stepping behind the camera again for a motion picture that
should have had the critics swooning and the awards flowing. Unfortunately
there is something not quite there about 'Bobby'.
Set on June 6th,
1968, the day of Robert F. Kennedy's assassination, Estevez writes and directs
a movie spotlighting the people and characters of the Ambassador hotel in
Los Angeles, the place were the incident took place. As the people headed
to the polls to vote for the presidential candidates, the hotel prepared
for the Senator's arrival and its residents and staff went about their personal
and work business. Here we see the interactions of the hotel staff, the
coming together of a young couple in marriage to save a young man from war,
the end of an affair, the end of a marriage, an anniversary, a career coming
to an end and a moment of kindness that will change an opinion on how good
people can actually be. A collection of stories set around such a historical
event should have provided the backdrop for an award friendly film that
could have become an historical epic. Unfortunately none of the characters
and situations are engaging enough for you to make any real connection with
This takes nothing
away from the performances of a truly astonishing all-star cast. From the
always outstanding William H. Macy, Laurence Fishburne and Helen Hunt, to
the up and coming young starlets such as Lindsey Lohan, Elijah Wood, Shia
LaBeouf, Nick Cannon and Freddy Rodríguez and then throw in screen legends
like Harry Belafonte, Anthony Hopkins and Martin Sheen and you have a great
cast. Estevez has also called in many of his friends such as Demi Moore,
Sharon Stone and Christian Slater to add even more established names to
the already heady list. Each of them brings their A-game to their characters
but it is Estevez's script that lets them down. There are just too many
characters here for many of the to really make an impact and with the movie
set over the period of one day, little of the background of each character
is revealed making you not invest enough time in some of them to get the
most out of each character.
'Bobby' is a movie
that should have been longer to allow you to have more time to invest in
the characters. By having so many character stories going on at once and
none of them getting enough screen time to give you the chance to really
invest in them as we head to the inevitable conclusion. This is a project
with too much ambition and one definitely made with winning awards in mind.
Emilio Estevez has to be appalled for gathering together such and impressive
cast however and trying to tell a story of a momentous day in American history
but you can't help thinking that he would have been better off making a
biopic about Robert F. Kennedy himself and not one about fictional and factual
characters that you don't really get the chance to know.
Presented in Widescreen
1.85:1 Anamorphic with a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, the transfer is good.
Bobby: The Making
of a Hollywood Epic (28.30 mins)
Writer/director Emilio Estevez, production designer Patti Podesta, composer
Mark Isham, author 'Robert Kennedy: The Life', songwriter Bryan Adams, singers
Aretha Franklin and Mary J. Blige and stars Laurence Fishburne, Anthony
Hopkins, Lindsay Lohan, William H. Macy, Demi Moore, Freddy Rodríguez, Sharon
Stone, Elijah Wood and Martin Sheen talk about the making of 'Bobby'. The
featurette covers the development of the stories, the mix of fictional and
factual characters, the Ambassador hotel, the costumes, the look and the
music of the movie. It also looks at the life and times of Robert F. Kennedy
and the legacy he left in the US.
Eye Witness Accounts
from the Ambassador Hotel
A panel of experts, witnesses and one victim of the shooting come together
to recall that fateful night and talk about what Bobby Kennedy was actually
like and what he could have done of the country if he had not been assassinated.
They also talk about his campaign, his approach to politics and his polices
that would have changed America for the better.
Watch the cinema preview that showcased the movie before its release
Previews of 'Breaking and Entering', 'Factory Girl', 'Miss Potter' and 'Shut
up & Sing'
The DVD treatment
of 'Bobby' is good, with a featurette covering most aspects of the film's
production and the fascinating interviews with the people from the time
who knew the senator and witnesses his campaign and assassination. A commentary
track would have been a welcome addition however but fans should be pleased
with this package.
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