TV Review: Nat Geo’s ‘Killing Kennedy’


National Geographic Channel premieres the movie Killing Kennedy, adapted from the book by Bill O’Reilly, on Sunday Nov. 10, 8 p.m. ET. The following are reviews from TV critics around the web, compiled by B&C.

“Too often feeling like a book report version of history (especially compared to the numerous productions based on this material, most recently the miniseries The Kennedys), the movie races through JFK’s election, the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban Missile Crisis and his notorious ‘woman problem’ (as brother Bobby puts it) before that fateful day in Dallas.”
—Brian Lowry, Variety

“The film cuts back and forth between its main players, their lives conceived as mirror images, parallel lines converging like railroad tracks in single-point perspective. It’s a checklist drama, ticking off the stations of their combined crosses, one by one, with dialogue that almost all goes straight to the point.”

—Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times

“On the whole, it’s an unengaged affair. If anyone involved was trying to convince the audience that something precious was lost when Oswald took aim, they should’ve tried harder.”

—Erik Adams, The A.V. Club

“Not that Killing Kennedy is bad - it’s not - but the whole film feels like it’s been staged in a small box as opposed to a world stage where seemingly minor events would assume such tragic consequence and reverberate to this day. Instead, Killing Kennedy is cramped and confined: a small-bore docudrama that tells us everything we already knew anyway.”
—Verne Gay, Newsday

Killing Kennedy doesn’t plow any new ground, but it is worth watching as a kind of companion to all the documentaries scheduled on TV to mark the anniversary of the assassination. You won’t come away from it with any new answers, but it’s a useful reminder of why the drama of that day has transfixed Americans for half a century.”
—David Wiegand, San Francisco Chronicle