REVIEW: Chappaquiddick a rich, complex character piece

The type of mature, methodical filmmaking contained within Ted Kennedy scandal drama Chappaquiddick is a lost art.

The story of the senator’s car crash off a bridge in 1969 that claimed the life of Mary Jo Kopechne, a campaign worker, is told with a sure hand.

With precise pacing, artful performances and patient tonal shifts, the film lets the viewer make up their own mind about the events and what really happened.

Jason Clarke — who in recent years made his mark in Zero Dark Thirty, Mudbound, The Great Gatsby — gives a career-best performance as Ted Kennedy.

He’s raw, emotionless and calculated — and also truly scary in his obsession with keeping up appearances in the political arena.

Comedians Ed Helms and Jim Gaffigan provide not a single laugh between them as two justice employees torn between helping a friend and doing what’s best for the case.

Bruce Dern is a revelation in a small — but important — role as father Joe Kennedy. The only person left out is Kate Mara, who manages to make the most out of woefully little screen-time as Mary Jo.

Chappaquiddick is a difficult, controversial film, and you’ll be talking and theorizing on your own long after the credits roll.

4.5/5 Stars

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