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JFK (Collector’s Edition) (4K UHD Review)

REVIEW OVERVIEW

The Film
The Video (Overall)
HDR Effect
The Audio
The Supplements
Overall

SUMMARY

New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison bucks the official narrative investigates the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, finding there may be a wider conspiracy involved.

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

In 1991, Oliver Stone released JFK, a crime thriller that delved into all the theories surrounding the November 22, 1963, assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, which shocked a nation, sent a generation into turmoil, and was the foreshadowing of more assassinations to come within a decade, including Robert F. Kennedy, the president’s brother, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Fred Hampton. In the wake of Kennedy’s murder, a commission to investigate the death, led by Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren, was launched and it came to the conclusion that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone gunman, nothing here to see, move along. After those findings, theories sprang up almost immediately that something nefarious had taken place. There were multiple gunmen; the mafia was involved, CIA director Allen Dulles led a conspiracy to kill the President, and more. The availability of the so-called “Zapruder Film,” an 8mm amateur film shot by Abraham Zapruder with a Bell & Howell home-movie camera as President John F. Kennedy’s motorcade drove by, appeared to support the validity that the fatal shot could not have come from above and behind, where Oswald would have been in the building they say he was, when Kennedy was shot. The “back and to the side” movement of his head and the blast from the back of his head, not to mention having to believe in the “magic bullet” that hit at multiple angles causing multiple entry wounds on two different people without any damage to its casing.

Stone’s film wades right into the so-called conspiracy theories, with a cast including Kevin Costner as New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison who feels in his bones there is something askew with the investigation into the assassination and launches his own, which puts his life, career, and his family at risk. His team’s investigation uncovers evidence that many people had reason to kill the president, including CIA director Allen Dulles, the vice president Lyndon Johnson, FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, and the Mafia. Eventually Garrison’s investigation settles on sleazy New Orleans local businessman Clay Shaw (Tommy Lee Jones) and he takes a case to trial to get the evidence into the public record, knowing it will endanger him and ruin his career.

At the time, the film was accurate given the evidence and information that was available and Stone’s tale, which ran over three hours (the director’s cut being over 16 minutes longer) is a riveting crime thriller and mystery, for lack of a better word. The film is at least one instance of Hollywood making a change for the good, as it spawned a law being passed that would require all the records related to the JFK assassination be reviewed and released to the public. Some new documents have been released since, but the bulk of the documentation have either been, puzzlingly, deemed not covered by the law by the intelligence agencies or blocked from release by the Executive Branch.

Gary Oldman stars as Lee Harvey Oswald. Other stars include Donald Sutherland, Joe Pesci, Tommy Lee Jones, Sissy Spacek, Edward Asner, Wayne Knight, John Candy, and Jack Lemmon. The movie was nominated for many Academy Awards and won two, Best Photography (Robert Richardson) and Editing (Joe Hutshing).

  • Columbia Dubose, Jodie Farber, Randy Means, and Steve Reed in JFK (1991)
  • Gary Oldman in JFK (1991)
  • Kevin Costner and John Larroquette in JFK (1991)
  • Gary Oldman in JFK (1991)
  • Kevin Costner in JFK (1991)
  • Kevin Costner and Donald Sutherland in JFK (1991)
  • 
Kevin Costner, Wayne Knight, Laurie Metcalf, Michael Rooker, and Jay O. Sanders in JFK (1991)
  • JFK (Collector's Edition) (Shout! Studios)
  • JFK (Collector's Edition) (Shout! Studios)

The Video

JFK is a new director-approved 4K scan of the original camera negative in Dolby Vision for both versions of the film and on both formats. The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray comes in a 2.35:1 HEVC 2160p (4K UHD) Dolby Vision encodement with HDR10 metadata that shows a MaxLL of 1056 nits and MaxFALL of 434 nits. The granularity is basically consistent straight through the film other than in the black and white flashback sequences where the grain is coarser and heavier. Otherwise, there is a very thin yet natural layer of grain that looks to have been reined in somewhat, but detail is still crispy and natural. There is no waxiness or excessive smoothness apparent to my eyes. Textures look palpable. The colors are warm, rich, and natural, giving that appropriate historical feel without an overabundance of stylization. The Dolby Vision grading adds subtle amounts of specular highlight ‘pop’ to reflections and warm glows to lamplight.

The Audio

The English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 gives the pomp and sweep of John Williams’ score, very heavily borrowing from Aaron Copland, the appropriate breadth and atmosphere during the fanfare and orchestral swells. The dialogue hits just right as well, but low end is moderate at best, although appropriate for the content.

The Supplements

Shout! Includes six new featurettes and some archival featurettes on a separate bonus disc in addition to the feature commentary which is available for both cuts of the film on 4K and Blu-ray. This could only be a more inclusive special features package if it were packaged together with the JFK: Revisited documentary set.

Bonus Features:

  • Commentary with director, producer, & co-writer Oliver Stone (On Director’s Cut 4K & Blu-ray and Theatrical Cut Blu-ray)

Special Features Blu-ray Disc:

  • One Person Can Make a Difference – Oliver Stone on JFK (1080p; 00:08:29) (NEW)
  • Brave New Worlds – Editor Hank Corwin on JFK (1080p; 00:09:29) (New)
  • Supporting the Vision – Co-producer Clayton Townsend on JFK (1080p; 00:08:33) (NEW)
  • Re-creating the Unthinkable – Special Makeup Effects Artist Gordon J. Smith on JFK (1080p; 00:07:44) (NEW)
  • Stone Bold – Cinematographer Robert Richardson on JFK (1080p; 00:07:18) (NEW)
  • The Delicate Hands of Time – Dallas Location Manager Patty Doherty Hess on JFK (1080p; 00:09:50) (NEW)
  • Deleted/Extended Scenes and Alternate Ending w/Optional Director’s Commentary (1080p; 00:54:46)
  • Assassination Update (1080i; 00:29:40)
  • Meet Mr. X: The Personality and Thoughts of Fletcher Prouty (1080i; 00:11:00)
  • Still Gallery (1080p; 00:03:22)
  • Theatrical Trailer (1080i; 00:02:22)

The Final Assessment

A fantastic historical crime drama that still holds up today, with superb performances all around, excellent direction, and a gorgeous new 4K restoration. This collection could only be better if the Theatrical release was also included on 4K Ultra HD. Highly recommended.


JFK (Collector’s Edition) is out on 3-Disc 4K + Blu-ray December 19, 2023 from Shout! Studios


  • Rating Certificate: R (for language)
  • Studios & Distributors: Warner Bros. | Canal+ | New Regency Productions | Alcor Films | Ixtlan | Camelot | Shout! Studios
  • Director: Oliver Stone
  • Written By: Jim Garrison | Jim Marrs | Oliver Stone
  • Run Time: 206 mins. (Director’s Cut) | 189 mins. (Theatrical Cut)
  • Street Date: 19 December 2023
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Video Format: HEVC 2160p (4K UHD)
  • HDR Format: Dolby Vision (HDR10 Compatible)
  • HDR10 Metadata:
    • MaxLL: 1056 nits
    • MaxFALL: 434 nits
  • Primary Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1
  • Secondary Audio: English DTS-HD MA 2.0 Stereo
  • Subtitles: English SDH
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New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison bucks the official narrative investigates the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, finding there may be a wider conspiracy involved. JFK (Collector's Edition) (4K UHD Review)