(5 of 5)
McNamara began addressing that question long after his tenure as Secretary of Defense under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. The architect of U.S. Vietnam policy in the '60s, McNamara made news 30 years later by acknowledging his mistakes. This splendid appraisal by documentarian Morris (The Thin Blue Line, A Brief History of Time) nudges McNamara deeper into the Big Muddy of his Vietnam logic.
Before Vietnam, McNamara helped plan the World War II fire bombing of Japanese cities, which killed hundreds of thousands of civilians. He stood on the brink of Armageddon in the Cuban missile crisis. Now he uses Morris' film stage as a platform and a confessional. McNamara is in charge here. It may be the first time in Morris' career that a subject has directed him.
The White House may not screen this film in the next year, but it should. This is spellbinding reality cinema about duplicity and, worse, ignorance at the highest level. --R.C.