The Fog Of War: Eleven Lessons From The Life Of Robert S. McNamara


(out of 5)

In this captivating documentary, former United States Secretary of Defense details in lengthy interviews his involvement in the wars of the last century. Starting with his experiences in World War II, he moves on to his participation in Vietnam when he held the Secretary of Defense position, first under John F. Kennedy’s presidency and then, following Kennedy’s assassination, under Lyndon B. Johnson. His anecdotes and opinions are structured under eleven lessons of war, presented with mind-boggling footage (some of which has never been seen before, most of which will be new to modern audiences) and surprisingly candid revelations about the world superpowers of the past. Taped conversations between McNamara and powerful political luminaries have been taken from the vault and recorded for this film, revealing some frightening realities about Vietnam that may not be too surprising for audiences but are informative just the same. Director Errol Morris avoids the quick-cutting, fast-paced rhythm of recent documentaries that attempt to cram in a huge ocean of information into a miniscule period of time, instead taking his time and letting McNamara’s mesmerizing monologue flow at a steady pace, juxtaposed beautifully with the haunting images. This is an astounding piece of work that doesn’t concern itself with being entertaining, thus becoming so through its concentration on the distribution of knowledge to its audience. It is a vital effort in anti-war media and a great achievement in the art of documentary film.

USA, 2003

Directed by

Cinematography by ,

Produced by , Errol Morris,

Music by 

Production Design by ,

Costume Design by ,

Film Editing by , ,

Film Festivals:  TIFF 2003

Cannes Film Festival:  2003

Academy Award
Best Documentary (Feature) (Errol Morris, Michael Williams)



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