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Film 2007

Directed by Emilio Estevez
Screenplay by Emilio Estevez

Sacha Markin

‘Bobby’ is Senator Robert F. Kennedy. The day is June 4th 1968 – the date when Senator Kennedy was fatally shot in the kitchen of L.A.'s Ambassador Hotel. And this picture tells the fictional tale of the hotels occupants in the hours preceding the killing.

With a star-studded cast assembled, we find Demi Moore in the role of a drunken diva, Martin Sheen as a depressed businessman alongside nervy wife Helen Hunt, there is also Lindsay Lohan playing a young, idealistic bride and the retired doorman comes in the form of Anthony Hopkins, adopting a downright obscure American accent. (Incidentally, Hopkins also donned the hat of producer on this film).

And that roll call of Hollywood is simply just skimming the surface of the final credits. Heather Graham appears doing what she does best – taking her clothes off, Christian Slater arrives as a food manager with a racist streak and Laurence Fishbourne gives an emotive performance as a poetic chef dishing our words of wisdom, with his legendary puddings, to fellow kitchen workers (Freddy Rodriquez and Jacob Vargas). However, for me, one actress – a certain Sharon Stone and believe me, I’ve never been a devoted fan – offers a wonderful, carefully-observed portrayal of a betrayed woman, shining brightly above many of her co-stars.

The creator of this film is none other than ex-eighties brat packer and C-grade movie star, Emilio Estevez. Surprisingly, and I really mean surprisingly, it’s an impressive, emotional piece of work from the son of Sheen. Bearing in mind he was merely a small child when this event took place, Estevez (taking on the minor character of Moore’s non-boozing husband) brings an enlightened film to the screen – and it’s blindingly obvious Estevez revered RFK as an icon of our times.

Estevez, thankfully, realised that no actor could possibly take on the role of Kennedy in front of a camera and so, instead of portraying him, RFK stars as himself – appearing via sixties television footage and documentary clips. Cleverly interwoven with the story and scenes, this master trick worked and RFK’s presence is not undermined. The original speeches and statements are replayed and Kennedy’s voice is heard over and over again, bringing the ideals of his ill-fated campaign directly to our attention.
‘Bobby’ is an ambitious project, and judging by the recent Oscar nominations, isn’t exactly overwhelming critics nor settling Tinsletown on fire, but it’s certainly thought-provoking, poignant, and culminates in a powerful, if quite moving, ending.

The film weaves a tapestry of unrelated characters and individual stories to culminate in the devastating climax. This, together with an affecting soundtrack and the original footage, certainly makes it not only an interesting reminder of an era gone by, but it also resonates with world events today. Messages of peace – relevant in any decade – come vividly come to life and for that alone, it’s worth spending some time in the company of ‘Bobby.’

© Sacha Markin Feb 2007
Writer and journalist

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