Bobby (15) <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fourstar fivestar -->

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The Independent Culture

Emilio Estevez writes and directs this painfully sincere movie about a day and night in the life of the Ambassador Hotel, Los Angeles, where Senator Robert Kennedy was shot dead in the early hours of 6 June, 1968.

The film unpacks a suitcaseful of mini-stories going on around the hotel, such as the two old geezers (Anthony Hopkins and Harry Belafonte) playing chess in the lobby, a young couple (Lindsay Lohan and Elijah Wood) who barely know each other getting married to save the boy from Vietnam, the hotel chef (Laurence Fishburne) making friends with a Mexican busboy (Freddy Rodriguez), and several more, all emblematic of the fractured society that Bobby Kennedy (the film argues) could have healed.

But Estevez is no Altman, and, even if he were, his script is tongue-tied by its liberal pieties; despite some good acting there's hardly an authentic human being in sight. In contrast, the contemporary TV footage of Kennedy that Estevez interweaves, in lieu of an actor impersonating him, has a powerful cumulative effect, and the speech that plays over the aftermath of the hotel assassination (the best sequence in the film)is very moving.

You can understand why somebody would want to make a film about such a famous "lost moment" in American history, but this celebrity ensemble piece is misconceived and poorly managed.