Although there have only been a handful of test screenings as a "work-in-progress", a few people have posted comments on the web.
(email@example.com) Marquette, Michigan
Long overdue film based on documented records.
What a fascinating movie!
I loved the style and information. I saw the short version (100 minutes) and hope to one day see the longer version (2 1/2 hours). What even the most ardent supporters of the Commission findings cannot say about this film is that it was made based on conspiracy beliefs. On the contrary, every bit of dialogue is based on actual testimony and telephone recordings of the persons portrayed.
Director Mark Sobel is neither a lone-gunman theory supporter or conspiracy theorist. Sobel has taken quotations from the historical record and organized them into an outstanding film.
Colorado Springs, Co.
"The Commission" is an excellent film! All
Americans who value our country and our history should view this film. It is an
entertaining and important work. Lyndon B. Johnson established "The
President's Commission on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy,"
which became commonly known as "The Warren Commission."
The murder of John F. Kennedy was one of the historically important events in our history. It was the serious job of the Warren Commission to evaluate evidence and investigate this tragic occurrence. Mark Sobel, in creating dialog directly from the executive sessions of the committee, clearly offers proof that there never was a real "investigation" into the death of JFK by the Warren Commission.
This is a noteworthy film that deserves wide distribution and viewing by the American public. It is "living" history, and will be very disturbing to many. Our political leaders should be held accountable, no matter how belatedly so. "The Commission" accomplishes this mission. The acting and directing are superb! Go see it, if you can find it. If you can't find it, ask an art theater in your city to show it. This film needs and deserves your help.
Long Beach, California
Summary: I'm thrilled to have seen this movie
If you want to see amazing performances presenting
the transcripts of the Warren Commission and what happened, this is the movie
for you to see. The timing couldn't be better for this film.
The cast is marvelous and not a false performance anywhere. From the big names of Martin Landau, Sam Waterston, Martin Sheen, Stephen Collins, Joe Don Baker, Corbin Bernsen, to the small roles - everyone was perfectly cast. It was obviously a labor of love for all concerned and the stars gave it life. I hope that a distributor can be found for the film so everyone can have a chance to see it.
I saw it with a friend who has a vastly differing opinion from mine on the work of the Warren Commission, and though we totally disagree with their finding, we both felt the film was remarkable in the accuracy portrayed. It still makes me want a criminal investigation into the assassination. If you liked "The Missiles of October," you should enjoy this film.
Mark Sobel should be proud of what he has accomplished.
Summary: Finally the Truth
Summary: Excellent, fine cast, and faithful to history
This feature should be seen by any citizen who cares about the future of this country. With everything in the film taken from the historical record, the Warren Commission reveals itself to be the public relations snow-job many have long suspected it was. The director lets the historical characters speak for themselves, and the result is devastating. All the performances by this first-rate cast (all of whom participated without pay, simply because they believed in the project) are excellent. It is crucial that this film be released theatrically. Americans need to reclaim their own history; nothing has been the same since November 22, 1963.
Summary: An outstanding piece of cinema - fast-paced, bold and challenging.I was present at the showing at the Dallas Film Festival, where the attendees were privileged to be one of the first audiences to view the movie. The director explained the logistical difficulties of making the movie - getting the actors together in one place; budgetary constraints, etc. - which makes his achievement even more remarkable.
The whole cast was superb - apparently they all worked for free and were totally in sync with Sobel's intent to serve the "client of Truth" - and the final output was a refreshing, disturbing and no-holds barred reenactment of the work of the Warren Commission. It stands to be compared favorably with the "big budget" movies of the same or similar genre such as Farenheit 9/11 and the Fog of War. Many congratulations to the cast, crew and production teams - I hope that the movie obtains a wider commercial distribution platform.
Summary: "The Commission" brings light
I feel privileged to have seen this movie and truly hope that it will be widely released soon!
"The Commission" uses documented fact to address the mysterious and confusing subject of how the Kennedy assassination was investigated. This film reminds me of Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9-11" in that it uses "fact-as-drama" to make its case. It is a highly potent method of film-making. I found myself thinking, "that couldn't have happened," but then remembered that the script for "The Commission" was compiled transcripts.... IT DID HAPPEN.
I am not an assassination buff, but I have to say that I've never been as interested in the Kennedy assassination as after seeing this film. This movie does not tell you what to believe --- it simply provides factual information which allows you to come to your own conclusions.
I am so pleased to see a wave of edgy political docu-features in the spotlight. It is truly encouraging to me that film-making is breaking ground on a new genre. Like "Fahrenheit 9-11", this film is something special.
Summary: Film well done!Mark Sobel's The Commission provides an insightful look into a period of US history around which many doubts and shadows have been cast. His interpretation of how events unfolded around the Warren Commission is worth seeing. He does a remarkable job using primary source material to comprise nearly 100% of the film. There is significant historical value in Sobel's approach for anyone interested generally in US history or specifically in the JFK assassination. The impact of watching actual real-time footage combined with Sobel's rendering of the Warren Commission's inner-workings is compelling. It will perhaps encourage viewers to consider whether the US system of appointing commissions to study important events is the best and most valid approach to answering difficult questions.
Mike Cain (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Summary: The Warren Commission failed us.I saw a screening of this movie in Dallas on 19 Nov. I've always been a Warren Commission skeptic, but this film goes way beyond confirming my suspicions. I hope this film gets wide distribution so people can finally begin to understand the ways we were manipulated.
Mark Sobel, working primarily from the real documents that back up their work, and from recordings of the president's conversations, makes a compelling case for abandoning any notion that the Warren Commission conducted anything like a serious inquiry into the death of JFK. Their job was to certify a report written by the FBI, who also did not investigate JFK's death.
See the movie when you can and draw your own conclusions, but please, see this movie.
Summary: Great! A must see for all Americans!A must see for all Americans! This film must be brought to America's theaters as soon as possible. If we don't learn from our mistakes in the past we are bound to repeat them. This movie has today's stars playing the "true" characters of November 1963. If this film doesn't make you mad, check your pulse because you are not alive. I am asking the producers to please find a way to get this gem in front of men and women, boys and girls, the young and the not so young. "The Commission" message to me is not pro conspiracy per se. The message to me is the Warren Commission failed in almost all ways to investigate the murder of President Kennedy. As a result of this film, and this film alone, the viewer can follow the lack of investigation and now demand that any and all Kennedy related material be opened NOW.
BELOW are some really bad reviews, both from a symposium held in Washington DC on the 40th anniversary of the Warren Report, at which I was invited to screen a pre-release version of the film. With absolutely no disrespect intended, it is possible to see how reviews by those who already have a dogmatic opinion seem to fall along 'party' lines. THE COMMISSION isn't going to change the opinion of anyone who already has such an opinion. The film itself isn't intended to prove or disprove any theory, or to suggest "who-done-it." The film's whole thesis is that if a crime isn't investigated, how can ANYONE claim to know who was behind it? The movie is a commentary on the quality of the investigation, and of what happens when "Political Needs" collide with "Issues of Justice". The film presents my impression of the event, based on many years of studying the Transcripts. It is then up to those who have no previous opinion either way to study the materials themselves (its all on the web).
Bronx, New York
Summary: A Disappointing FilmI saw The Commission at a Warren Commission conference. The film was disappointing even though there are some interesting elements of value in the movie.
The acting performances were good in many places and the switches from one shot to another with interesting changes in camera angle were extremely good. But some of the more significant scenes for the thesis of the film, particularly Martin Landau as Senator Richard Russell, were stiff and halting as if there were no underlying aesthetic momentum. I got the impression in these places that more takes might have smoothed out the film.
I was reminded of Landau as Bela Lugosi in the Ed Wood biopic and it was difficult not to laugh.
The director sticks to the dialogue generated by the Warren Commission hearings and report and some of the stiffness results from this particular choice. And the director has a particular bias about the Warren Commission which is not substantiated at all by the historical record so that a perspicacious viewer is put off by the film because it seems jury-rigged and preachingly hokey. There are also some serious misinterpretations of conversations between Russell and then President Lyndon Johnson which are historically weak and unperceptive again in the service of the director's thesis.
Some of the hard-core evidence refuting the director's thesis is simply left out. For example, the exchange between Arlen Spector and Governor Connally's doctor, Dr. Shaw, in which Specter develops some iron clad facts about Connally's wounds vis-a-vis the single bullet theory, doesn't appear in the film despite its significance in the commission's work itself. This elision gives a false and seriously misleading impression of the conceptual texture of the Commission and might be seen by some as a striking moral failing.
The major problem with the film then is its rather frightening disregard for the real evidence in the JFK case.
Typically I don't comment on reviews, because I figure that all's fair. But I must say that I grieve to see a performance by Martin Landau put down because his Academy Award-winning performance in "Ed Wood" now makes the reviewer want to laugh when seeing Mr. Landau on the screen. Martin Landau is one of the great actors of ANY generation, and personally I found his portrayal of Bela Lugosi in "Ed Wood" to be quite touching.
(And since I'm commenting, I'll add that the testimony of Dr. Shaw referenced above as developing "iron clad facts" was given in an early deposition taken in Dallas before Dr. Shaw had been flown to Washington and seen the "Single Bullet." In the Washington testimony, which is the testimony excerpted in the film, both Drs. Shaw and Gregory recanted any speculation made in their previous depositions, after seeing the nearly pristine condition of the bullet.) Mark.
Narragansett, Rhode Island
Summary: B for effort, C- for results.I saw "The Commission" in September 2004 at the AARC meeting on the Warren Report in Washington, D.C. I had high hopes, but was disappointed. The producer and the actor who appeared to introduce and discuss the film were personable and dedicated, to be sure, but the results did not live up to their billing. While the film was entertaining and contained a great deal of information, I found it to be quite biased against the commission, its results, and its integrity. It resembled the typical JFK conspiracy conference, with lots of innuendo and little proof. It stereotyped the bad guys (the commissioners that the film-makers disagreed with) as well as the good guys (the ones they agreed with). Most importantly, the film glossed over the powerful fact that the Warren Commission's two major findings (that Oswald did it all and that there was no solid evidence that he was helped) have stood the test of 41 long, hard years. The WC and WR were not perfect, to be sure, but this view of them was a little too slanted for my taste. B for effort, C- for results.