Making the Movie

17Apr/107

DVD Review: Dark Legacy

My brother is into conspiracy theory documentaries, so I've watched my fair share. Dark Legacy: George Bush and the Murder of John F. Kennedy is like many of these documentaries: it takes enormous leaps from scant evidence, and selectively presents only the facts that bolster its case. Certainly, you come out of it wondering... what if this were true? But while it raises some interesting questions, any documentary which instantly brands people as "Nazis" and "devils" does not deserve to be taken without massive heaps of salt.

Are there some things that don't add up about the assassination of JFK? Of course there are. Dark Legacy walks through the standard evidence pretty briskly, only stopping to dwell, as Oliver Stone's JFK does, on the gruesome seconds of the Zapruder footage. "Back and to the left. Back and to the left. Back and to the left."

Dark Legacy's main originality, as far as I can tell, is connecting the usual Kennedy / CIA assassin conspiracies with the Bush family conspiracy theories, trying to link the first Bush president, George H.W. Bush, to the assassination of JFK through a CIA-run anti-Castro program, Operation Zapata. The main piece of evidence is a very inexplicit memo from FBI Director Herbert Hoover, which names a George Bush at the CIA as being a leader of this program. According to the documentary, the former President George Bush has said the memo refers to another George Bush. Does the documentary investigate other George Bushes who might've been working for the CIA at the time? No. Does it ask if there are other reasons George Bush may have wanted to keep a CIA connection at that time secret? No.

The doc presents some compelling links between Nixon, Bush, Howard Hunt, Jack Ruby, Lee Harvey Oswald etc. But the problem with building a case out of a web of connections is that any two random people on Earth are only separated by six degrees. I could probably connect Nelson Mandela to the assassination of JFK if I tried hard enough.

This documentary is not for the squeamish. Although it presents itself as a counterfactual "what would JFK want if he were alive today," I doubt JFK would want to see his own autopsy photo again and again. And if you are at all squeamish about tenuous leaps in logic - for example, assuming that because someone runs in the same social circles as someone else, they would engage in a criminal conspiracy together - this movie is also a turn-off.

If you're already a conspiracy theorist, Dark Legacy will not likely be presenting anything new to you. However, even with its comical Terry Gilliam-esque animations, it does spin quite a yarn. I was rarely bored while watching it, and only confused when it presented a speculation and then immediately incorporated it as a fact.

Let me present my own speculation: if you like these sort of documentaries, you'll probably like this one just fine. There are some technical problems with archival footage being at the wrong aspect ratio, and some footage having digital tearing. And, based on the credits to the film, I'm pretty sure the filmmaker did not secure the rights to the very expensive music used in the film. ("I know you're workin' for the CIA...")

But if you're down the rabbit hole, that's not going to matter. Dark Legacy will be catnip. Partisans of Nixon and the Bush family would do well to stay away, unless they are lawyers viewing the doc for a potential slander case.



About J. Ott

John Ott is a writer, filmmaker and technology geek. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.
Comments (7) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Even though I haven’t seen the documentary, I’m guessing that your review of it leaves something to be desired. You see, Bush Sr. and L.H. Oswald were linked by only two degrees of separation at most. Oswald’s closest friend after he moved to Dallas was a man named George DeMohrenschildt. Mr. D was a contract agent for the CIA as well as an associate of both George H. W. Bush and of Lyndon B. Johnson. Google “Bruce Campbell Adamson” (www.ciajfk.com).

  2. A word to the wise is sufficient. Cheer up Mr Ott, perhaps one day you will be wise.

  3. They need to show this in schools. It was an excellent movie. It finally makes sense of who killed JFK.

  4. yes indeed, lighten up Mr Ott. Your blatant bias against the film is no different than the very bias you slam the film maker for. What films have you made?

  5. “Devils” -might- be a bit over the top, but the Nazi connection is quite literal, & well documented. Did you ever hear of the term “preponderance of evidence”, Mr Ott” you should worry less about what you seem to think was left out of this film, & study the considerable evidence that -is- here.

  6. also our law enforcement uses webs to connect things. i see my comment is awaiting moderation. im reposting without the two naughty words.

    How do you get evidence; 100% DIRECT evidence, from and about people who know that investigators need evidence to prove they are guilty? mr. Ott wants to hear, “yes, kill him that guy mr. jfk. says I mr. blah blah” and ” yes master, I mr. blah blah will carry this out” directly from all of their mouths. you wont get that kind of evidence in any case mr. ott, unless you are prosecuting an inbred retard. your review is bias, but i feel the maker of this film needs to reveal all of the official documents. not just two of them, (off the website). the film wouldnt be allowed to research and look up all the people enlisted in the CIA. By the way, nice way to throw someone under the bus. “And, based on the credits to the film, I’m pretty sure the filmmaker did not secure the rights to the very expensive music used in the film.” mr. otto. im sure you really care about that song.

  7. I have watched this movie and I think the filmmaker links things together very well. There are a lot of questions the government didn’t answer. The fact that Hunt lost his case when accused of being an assassin was a big eye opener. The fact that some of these people worked for Nixon, they were all in Dallas and a long list of other facts would win a case in Civil Court I can assure you if not in Criminal. There is enough evidence to question that these people had something to do with JFK’s death. I saw it happen on live TV and I remember his head going back as he was hit by a bullet. It never made sense that the man they arrested did the shooting by himself or at all. I think the documentaries this man has created should give pause to further investigation of the Bush family and a lot of others. Unfortunately I’m sure the paper path, most of it, has been destroyed and many are already dead.


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