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The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara (2003) (Movies To See Before You Die - Biographical / Documentary)

22 May, 2013 | Movies To See Before You Die / Documentary

Documentaries are mostly made with a purpose to portray ‘The Truth’ in a more blunt and informative manner. The truth which can be about ‘The divine gifts of Nature’ or ‘The shining as well as shameful facts about our past, our own History”. The featured documentary THE FOG OF WAR falls in the second category which leaves you in an awkward situation, feeling stunned & distressed on the revelations made in it by one of the key persons in charge for all those controversial & threatening decisions of the 20th century.
The film is about the former US Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara openly discussing the tough lessons learned about the ‘Always Avoidable Wars’ during his long service to the nation. Apart from the disclosures made by Robert himself, the documentary needs to be rated as an essential watch since it uses the original archival footage, TV coverage, crucial phone recordings, documents and other rare accounts of those decisive times, exclusively. At the age of 87, Robert faced the camera, remembering all the success & failures lived in his illustrious & significant career along with two presidents of America, namely Kennedy and Johnson.
Known as one of the brightest politician with a reputation of being unfriendly and arrogant, Robert frankly talks about his participation in the World War 2, association with the FORD company and then being appointed as the Secretary of Defense of United States. Though throughout the film/interview he remains careful and never shows any kind of regret admitting the grave mistakes made by the authorities in their various wars. Yet, the hidden facts he shares about World War II, bombing Japan and the cruel Vietnam War make the viewer shiver with fear and anger together.
Particularly its hugely scary to imagine that we were just one step or a phone call away from the destructive NUCLEAR WAR at that time. And in words of Mcnamara it was only LUCK which saved us all from seeing the end of this world. Further it is really disgusting to know that JAPAN was dropped those TWO bombs even when its entire 67 cities were already brought down to ground level more than 50%. And then the section on the much talked about America-Vietnam War has many more secrets to disclose which led to the deaths of around 50 thousand US soldiers and over a million Vietnamese people without any strong cause or motive.
As a matter of fact, the documentary is not a flawless one winning the Best Documentary OSCAR in 2004. It does have a few drawbacks and the biggest of them all is the reference of “Eleven Lessons” in it which do not really serve any clear purpose. Probably these were later added on the edit-table to give an extra edge to the product as a marketing gimmick. Secondly the film doesn’t have any set sequence. Mcnamara keeps jumping from one year to another abruptly which becomes distracting at times. But most importantly its really somewhat strange to see that the dominant personality starts crying recalling John F. Kennedy’s death but remains unperturbed on the mention of more than a million people dying in the Vietnam War.
Nevertheless, despite above mentioned flaws, THE FOG OF WAR is a must watch indeed because it makes you aware of our planet’s painful history of its last 100 years. And those hundred years are painted red with some terribly wrong and avoidable wars between various countries in the globe. Besides it makes you hear those secret private recordings of two ex-presidents of America with his key men which you are not going to hear otherwise in any film project.
To sum up the experience of watching the documentary in one line, its like a rare, secret mystery opening layer by layer on the screen, exposed by an unapologetic man who himself was a main participant of those historical events visibly. On second thoughts, while he willingly revealed all these secrets to the public in an interview, the influential man must have kept much more brutal truths hidden in his heart which could have further disturbed the viewers immensely. But in order to witness what he did share with us all voluntarily, you got to see this precious and enlightening documentary as a must.
Director : Errol Morris
Starring : Robert McNamara with real life footage/recordings of many important happenings.

Tags : The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara (2003), Movies To See Before You Die, Not To Be Missed Movies List by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, Worth Watching Documentaries, Must Watch Documentaries on World History
22 May 2013 / Comment ( 0 )
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