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Shooting blanks: Jackie review by Rashid Irani

Despite some impressive visual flourishes – the slain President’s limousine racing to the hospital – the much-hyped Jackie is ultimately a big let-down.

movie reviews Updated: Feb 24, 2017 16:41 IST
Rashid Irani
Jackie is a portrait of the former First Lady, Mrs John F Kennedy and a style icon in the 1960s.
Jackie is a portrait of the former First Lady, Mrs John F Kennedy and a style icon in the 1960s.

JACKIE

Direction: Pablo Larrain

Actors: Natalie Portman, Billy Crudup

Rating: *½

Celebrated Chilean director Pablo Larrian makes an inauspicious transition to Hollywood with the first English-language film of his career.

Not nearly as involving as it aspires to be, Jackie is a portrait of the former First Lady and 1960s style icon in the aftermath of the assassination of her husband, President John F. Kennedy in November 1963.

Failing to convey a sense of immediacy, the non-linear narrative begins with a hackneyed framing device. Barely a week after JKF’s murder, his widow (Portman) summons a journalist (Crudup) to her Massachusetts mansion for an exclusive one-on-one interview.

No longer the ingénue she was during her early days at the White House, Mrs. Kennedy now comes across as a shrewd manipulator of the media. Determined to ensure that her late husband’s legacy will be forever enshrined in the nation’s psyche, she even emphasises his love of the popular Broadway musical Camelot.

Jackie tries to capture the loneliness and torment of Jacqueline Kennedy in the wake of a tragedy.

With the sudden death of her white knight, the privileged ‘princess’ is left with memories of the brief shining moments they shared in their fairy-tale kingdom. Not surprisingly, the heartbroken celebrity withdraws from public view following the elaborate state funeral which she insisted her husband deserved.

Utilising a battery of tight close-ups, Larrian fails to fully capture Jackie’s loneliness and torment in the wake of the tragedy.

Read: Have a blast: John Wick Chapter 2 review by Rashid Irani

A textbook Oscar contender, all tics and mannerisms, Natalie Portman delivers a masterclass in BAD acting.

With the exception of the late John Hurt, who is grace personified as the priest who attempts to comfort the confused widow, the rest of the supporting ensemble, including Peter Sarsgaard (Robert Kennedy) and John Carroll Lynch (Lyndon Johnson) is merely required to look gloomy. The overbearing background music score by the British composer Mica Levi is incongruous.

Despite some impressive visual flourishes – the slain President’s limousine racing to the hospital – the much-hyped Jackie is ultimately a big let-down.

Watch Jackie 2017 trailer here: