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Interview With the Assassin

After more than 400 books, countless TV documentaries and half a dozen movies, can the huge, untidy pile of dark speculations about President John F. Kennedy's assassination support one more theory? Writer/director Neil Burger thinks so. Shot with a hand-held camera in jittery mock-doc style, Interview With the Assassin (opening Friday at the StarzCenter) throws together an icy ex-Marine sniper named Walter Ohlinger (Raymond J. Barry), who claims he was the infamous second gunman four decades ago in Dealy Plaza, and his suburban neighbor, a none-too-bright, out-of-work TV cameraman, Ron Kobeleski (Dylan Haggerty), to whom the killer decides to confess.

The emotionally detached Walter's apparent motive for coming clean (he's dying of cancer) is no purer than Kobeleski's for seizing on the story (he hopes to strike it rich), and we sense from the start that Burger will throw us a twist or two as the men cross the country in search of shadowy figures once connected to the JFK murder plot. So be it. Burger's style is student-movie raw, and his grasp of logic could use some work, but in the end, this low-budget Oliver Stone sustains dramatic tension in a suitably paranoiac atmosphere of threats and deceptions, and Barry's performance as the sharpshooter gives off just the right chill. Conspiracy buffs will likely be thrilled, skeptics amused.

 
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