(out of 5)
Despite a flourishing career in the government and a successful position at the Pentagon, Daniel Ellsberg risked life and liberty to reveal secret documents about the Vietnam war that ended up playing a key part in ending America’s involvement in the conflict. This absorbing documentary interviews Ellsberg, his colleagues, and his family about the process by which he came upon incendiary memos and recordings by members of the White House. These documents contradicted what the American public was being told about the war, and Ellsberg took the time to sneak them out to the press (his son details a very long, arduous process of photocopying that is almost comical today). Ellsberg stood to lose his reputation and everything he had worked for in his life, but felt so strongly about the situation that he believed himself compelled to do nothing else. The film is definitely a one-sided affair: it offers very little contradiction to the notion that Ellsberg was and is a hero, and I do not disagree personally, but a few more dissenting voices would have thickened up the experience of reporting here. That said, it’s surprising how captivating the whole thing is despite its obvious agenda.
Produced by Judith Ehrlich, Rick Goldsmith
Music by Blake Leyh
Film Editing by Michael Chandler, Rick Goldsmith, Lawrence Lerew