CAN’T ES­CAPE THAT SINK­ING FEEL­ING

Pinjarra Murray Times - - REVUE ENTERTAINMENT -

IT may sound like a boys-only ver­sion of a Harry Pot­ter game but Chap­paquid­dick was ac­tu­ally the site of a defin­ing mo­ment in US his­tory. With­out the no­to­ri­ous in­ci­dent re­counted skil­fully here by di­rec­tor John Cur­ran, an­other Kennedy, the last of the fa­mous broth­ers, might well have ended up in the White House.

In­stead, a fa­bled fam­ily story of dy­nas­tic rule and ex­trav­a­gant gifts and charisma was stymied at the last hur­dle.

Nev­er­the­less, Ted (Aus­tralian ac­tor Ja­son Clarke) gives ev­ery in­di­ca­tion of fight­ing his des­tiny, as events un­fold on the eve of the moon land­ing, July 18, 1969.

He is acutely aware of the bril­liance of brother John, whose vi­sion led to that epochal Arm­strong mo­ment.

He makes his mis­giv­ings known to dis­tant fa­ther Joe Sr (Bruce Dern), now af­flicted by a stroke.

It’s at a party in a rented house on Chap­paquid­dick Is­land with Bobby’s legacy in mind that things un­ravel.

It’s a re­union of Bobby’s cam­paign work­ers. The mar­ried Ted is par­tic­u­larly taken at the thought of catch­ing up with 28-year-old Mary Jo Kopechne (Kate Mara), a strate­gist for Bobby whose as­sas­si­na­tion has stopped her ca­reer in its tracks.

Kennedy leaves the party to give Kopechne a ride to the ferry, a ride that takes a wrong turn in ev­ery way.

Mary Jo is killed, Ted is eva­sive and seem­ingly morally weak and mal­leable, saved from the worst of fates only by strate­gists and fix­ers. If any­thing, the one seem­ingly moral pres­ence is his favourite fixer, cousin Joe Gargan (Ed Helms).

This is where the trauma for the film­goer be­comes acute. We are so in­ured to an age of dis­sem­bling and out­right de­ceit, much of it hap­pen­ing in real time, much of it em­a­nat­ing from that very bea­con of democ­racy, the White House.

Sadly, the events that un­folded al­most 50 years ago doc­u­mented here are un­likely to lighten our mood but might shine a light on the qual­i­ties re­quired to lead oth­ers through trou­bled times.

Ja­son Clarke as Ted Kennedy.

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