Interview with the Assassin (2002)

Rating: C

Dir: Neil Burger
Star: Raymond J. Barry, Dylan Haggerty

The premise here is certainly interesting: what if you find out a neighbour is the man who shot JFK? That’s what happens to recently-fired local news cameraman Ron (Haggerty), who is summoned to the home of the reclusive and terminally-ill Ohlinger (Barry), to hear his last confession – he was the man behind the grassy knoll in Dallas. Ron finds himself drawn in to Ohlinger’s world, even as he struggles to find out if this admission has any basis in reality. The only man who can say for sure is Ohlinger’s alleged employer, now lying in a Virginia military hospital, and much to his wife’s distress, Ron decided that he must find out the truth, regardless of the personal cost.

The influences here are equally JFK and Blair Witch, with the paranoia of the former mixing nicely with the faux-documentary approach of the latter. Proceedings here are at their most convincing when they’re at their most restrained: basically, the talking-head interviews, with Ohlinger, his wife, etc. as these come across as entirely convincing. The further the film strays from this foundation, however, the less effective it is, and by the end, events have lost all sense of credibility, spiralling off into something that feels like a subplot dropped – and for good reason – from an early 24 draft. It wastes the opportunity to create something which connects the dots of Kennedy’s assassination, and turns them into a solid outline worthy of one of the pivotal moments of the 20th century.