Bobby – DVD Review

Available at Amazon.com

The Weinstein Company presents Bobby. Running time: 119 minutes. Rated R for language, drug content and a scene of violence.

Written and Directed By:

Emilio Estevez

Cast:

Harry Belafonte. Nelson
Nick Cannon. Dwayne
Emilio Estevez. Tim Fallon
Laurence Fishburne. Edward Robinson
Heather Graham. Angela
Anthony Hopkins. John Casey
Helen Hunt. Samantha
Joshua Jackson. Wade
Ashton Kutcher. Fisher
Lindsay Lohan. Diane
William H. Macy. Paul
Demi Moore. Virginia Fallon
Freddy Rodríguez. José
Martin Sheen. Jack
Christian Slater. Timmons
Sharon Stone. Miriam
Elijah Wood. William

The Film:

When most people think of Emilio Estevez they think of the 80’s Brat Packer. So it was quite surprising to see his name emblazoned on the screen last fall. Strange, in that it was for a film he both wrote and directed. The film was Bobby.

An ensemble piece, the film follows the stories of several characters in the Ambassador Hotel, the day Bobby Kennedy was shot and killed. Ensembles are a tricky beast, because as a film it is hard to balance the story arcs of multiple characters and the overall plot of the film. I feel in more capable hands Bobby could have been a fantastic film, however Emilio’s feature falls short on many levels.

The biggest problem is that there are too many characters and most of them are not given the time to fully develop. It’s hard to care about almost everyone in the film despite the phenomenal cast. At least the acting is passable to ease much of the bland, pointless dialogue. And despite the acting talents of Anthony Hopkins and William H. Macy, the performance that really out shines comes from the relatively unknown Freddy Rodríguez, who plays José, a waiter who comes into work only to find out he’s been scheduled for a double shift and now he’s going to miss a very important baseball game. (Rodríguez most recently starred as Wray in Robert Rodriguez’s half of Grindhouse.)

Another problem with Bobby is that Estevez tries too hard to breach every subject that was important during that time period. In doing this the film is spread way too thin and none of the important subjects are given any clout. It’s almost like a Cliff’s Notes of 1968. That, and the random drug trip in the second act, is completely out of place.

The film is not a complete waste of time, though. One good decision Emilio made was only showing Kennedy through archival newsreel footage. It helps keep a level of realism about all these fictional stories. While most the film is boring and seemingly pointless, there are a few entertaining moments here and there. The last twenty minutes, however, are fantastic. It’s the end where the use of newsreel footage is a complementary, making the final moments very powerful and memorable.

Watching Bobby it’s easy to see how someone like Robert Altman would have made an amazing movie. Emilio’s heart was in the right place with this love letter to Kennedy, but sadly his heart couldn’t quite step up to the task at hand.


Edward and José, part of the backbone of the Ambassador Hotel.

The DVD:

The Video:

The film is presented in widescreen 2.35:1. If there’s one thing Estevez got right it was the cinematography. This is a good looking film and intercutting the film with archival footage is not distracting. No doubt Emilio’s next outing as a serious director will be even better.

The Audio:

The film is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. The sound in the film is good. The score is very pleasant and really keeps the movie moving forward.

Extras:

Bobby, The Making of American Epic: Watching this you really see how much love Emilio had for the story. All the actors, too, seem to be in love with the subject. Total fluff piece.

Eyewitness Accounts from the Ambassador Hotel: Who knew that eyewitness accounts of an assassination could be so boring? Especially when one of the speakers was also shot that day. Sadly, there really isn’t much interesting going on here.

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for Bobby
CATEGORY
RATING
(OUT OF 10)
THE MOVIE

7
THE VIDEO

8
THE AUDIO

8
THE EXTRAS

5
REPLAY VALUE

4
OVERALL
6
(NOT AN AVERAGE)

The Inside Pulse
The most impressive thing about this movie is the cast. Sadly there’s not much else going on. There is no denying the importance Bobby Kennedy’s assassination and what it did to this country. Too bad a more experienced director didn’t tackle the subject.