Chappaquiddick

Chappaquiddick

“Chappaquiddick” can be summed up by one of the first sentences uttered by Edward “Ted” Kennedy (Aussie actor Jason Clarke) after escaping from a sunken car that he drove off a bridge into shallow water on July 18, 1969: “I’m not going to be president.” Never mind that he was right. At that point, there’s a more pressing issue at hand: A young female passenger named Mary Jo Kopechne is gasping for air and slowly expiring in the back seat of his vehicle. But in his privileged world, saving his own behind and preserving what’s left of the legacy of his family dynasty is his primary duty. He wouldn’t officially report the accident for another 10 hours or so, more than enough time for Kopechne to have been rescued according to authorities who arrived the next day. The film, directed in unfussy workmanlike fashion by John Curran, acts as a reminder that cover-ups of misdeeds committed by those who are entrusted to govern our nation are nothing new. Money, power, lies and cronyism have regularly provided a safety net against taking accountability for one’s morally askew acts while in office that often leave behind an ugly wake of human collateral damage.