Bobby


Directed by: Emilio Estevez
Written by:Emilio Estevez
Starring: Harry Belafonte, Emilio Estevez, Laurence Fishburne, Brian Geraghty, Heather Graham, Anthony Hopkins, Helen Hunt, Joshua Jackson, Ashton Kutcher, Shia LaBeouf, Lindsay Lohan, William H. Macy, Demi Moore, Freddie Rodriguez, Martin Sheen, Christian Slater, Sharon Stone, Elijah Wood
Released: March 8, 2007
Grade: B

Bobby is a film which is set entirely in one location on one day.  The venue is the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles and the date is 4 June 1968.  Those who know their U.S. history will recognise the significance of the time in place.  At 12:15am on the morning on 5 June 1968, Senator Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated in the hotel’s kitchen.  He was killed just minutes after giving a famous victory speech following his success in the Democratic Presidential primaries in California and South Dakota.

This movie isn’t a re-telling of the assassination.  In fact, no actor plays Robert Kennedy.  The only time we see Kennedy is when we’re watching real archival footage.  The film’s focus is on the era itself – its people and the challenges they faced.

For this reason, Emilio Estevez’s movie features a myriad of stories.  I don’t think you’ll find a bigger celebrity cast list in another film this year.  We follow a range of hotel employees, members of Kennedy’s election team, and a few guests.  I could list them all but I’d be here for a while.  Let’s just say that this is a true “ensemble drama”.

Some stories and more interesting that others but you’d expect that.  I take issue with the fact that whilst this based around the actual death of Robert F. Kennedy, the characters in the film are all fictional.  I don’t know if it would have been possible but I’d have preferred to have had their stories based on real accounts.  I felt sympathetic watching some of the characters get shot in the final scene but this feeling was dispelled on learning that these people never existed in reality.

Given the number of separate stories, there isn’t the time to become involved with many of the characters.  It lacks depth and some people felt unnecessary and pointless.  It’s not a bad film but one which could have been better given the impressive cast.  Those looking to reflect back on the 60s may find it more appealing that others.