Director: Derik Murray
Starring: Cindy Crawford, Kristoffer Polaha, Mike Tyson, Robert De Niro
Running Time: 92 min
From the moment he saluted the casket at his father’s funeral, John F. Kennedy Jr., became “America’s Prince”. The adored son of America’s most glamorous president grew up to become arguably the most famous man in America, spending his entire life under the media microscope until his untimely death in 1999.
I AM JFK JR. tells the story of John Jr., the only surviving son of President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy. Directed by award-winning director/producer Derik Murray, the 92 minute documentary looks back at the life of the young man who was pegged for greatness and features intimate interviews with some of his closest friends including A-list celebrities such as Robert De Niro and Cindy Crawford, to former work colleagues at John Jr.’s pioneering George magazine, Gary Ginsberg and Matt Berman.
Intimate, revealing and incredibly poignant, the film is engrossing look at the man behind the tabloid fodder. I AM JFK JR is beautifully shot with Murray making good use of vintage video footage to show the close relationship between John Jr. and his mother Jackie Kennedy, as well John’s refusal to succumb to political life, despite increasing public pressure.
The vast majority of the story is driven forward by interviews with John’s friends and former colleagues. Michael Reagan (son of the late President Ronald Reagan) and author Doug Wead provide an interesting insight into the difficulties and strange destinies of presidential children, while authors Christopher Andersen and Laurence Leamer offer background on the life of America’s most famous family.
But the most interesting footage comes from the people who knew him best, specifically his close friends John Perry Barlow, Sasha Chermayeff and Christiane Amanpour. It is here where John’s humility and modesty truly shines through, with Murray skillfully and tastefully capturing John’s playful and compassionate side.
Yet, for all its heart, the film isn’t without its flaws. As a Brit, I must admit that I knew little of John F. Kennedy Jr. before watching the film and whilst the director Murray works hard to give viewers a true sense of of the real JFK JR, the film assumes a prior knowledge of the man.
Despite its lengthy running time of 92 minutes, the film also skips over John’s untimely death from a plane crash in 1999, choosing instead to concentrate on his early life at the White House and the launch of his the glossy political magazine, George.
That said, there is no doubt that John F. Kennedy Jr. was an incredible charismatic and intriguing individual and his legacy is one that should not be forgotten. All in all, I AM JFK JR. is an engrossing documentary about a great man determined to be good —a story that ended too soon.
I AM JFK JR. is released on Digital HD on 2 August and on DVD on 12 August.