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Errol Morris' "Fog of War"

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Errol Morris' "Fog of War"

Old 01-26-04, 03:50 AM
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Errol Morris' "Fog of War"

I went to see today The Fog of War or "Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara" and what can I say, I was very moved and my view of the last 60 years has been radically altered. I highly recommend this film for any fan of documentaries or history buffs.

McNamara is put before Errol Morris' "Interratron" which (for those of you who don't know) is an apparatus that lets the subject of the interview make eye contact with the camera and the interviewer at the same time. The end result being that there is a better connection between the subject and the viewer.

Among the details of the film: the fire bombing of Japan, the Ford motor company, JFK, the Cuban missile crisis, the escalation of the Vietnam war - all indelible parts of American/World history. McNamara isn't always a sympathetic figure - he even describes himself as a war criminal at one point. And its this forthrightness that still makes him compelling.

9/10
Old 01-26-04, 06:28 AM
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This looks like it would make a great double feature with "Hearts and Minds."
Old 01-26-04, 05:17 PM
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Originally posted by funkyryno
This looks like it would make a great double feature with "Hearts and Minds."
I haven't seen Fog of War yet, but I really loved Hearts and Minds. I saw a while ago on VHS. Is the commentary on the Criterion version any good?
Old 01-26-04, 05:32 PM
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McNamara is a very engaging interview here and makes the movie quite interesting. The same can't be said for Morris's illustrations which I found to be bland. And I don't usually care for Philip Glass's film scores, but I did like the music.
Old 01-27-04, 02:38 PM
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unfortunately, this isn't slated to run here at the (relatively) local arthouse theater until Mid-March....but i'll definately be there to see it when it does play....
Old 01-27-04, 04:57 PM
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Re: Errol Morris' "Fog of War"

I loved the film and give it 3 1/2 stars but I wanted to take issue with this:
Originally posted by MrN
my view of the last 60 years has been radically altered. I highly recommend this film for any fan of documentaries or history buffs.
McNamera is fascinating, and it's great to see him being so (mostly) forthright, but this film is ONE MAN'S OPINION. This would be like you saying that The Kid Stays In The Picture changed your entire view on the last 40 years of Hollywood filmmaking. This is History screened through the consciounce of one man. It isn't absolute gospel

As Bob Evens said: "There's three sides to every story. Your side. My Side. And the Truth"
Old 01-27-04, 06:54 PM
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Re: Re: Errol Morris' "Fog of War"

Originally posted by Pants
but this film is ONE MAN'S OPINION.
I agree but there are things that he says that are obviously not opinion.
(for the sake of those who might want to know until they see the film)
Spoiler:
The nuclear warheads were in Cuba before the blockade. This is obviously not the way the story is told from any other source - because all the sources so far haven't talked to Castro.


That certainly changed the whole story in my book.
Old 01-27-04, 07:46 PM
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The trailer for this movie is pretty amazing, I really want to see this.
Old 01-27-04, 07:50 PM
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I was surprised by that comment too. But that info is still not confirmed. Macnamera says that Castro told him that many years later. Whose to say that Castro told him the truth? With 30 years of hindsight it would be tempting for Castro to make himself look fearless and daring by saying that he had the warheads, recomended their use, and was willing to sacrifice Cuba if it came down to it. Who wouldn't say that after the fact to make themselves look like a bad ass?

"Oh yeah, I had the nukes. Kruchev trusted me with them. I told him to use them. [lights cigar for effect] I would have given my life and all my country to see you capitalists get exterminated in a nuclear fire."

Last edited by Pants; 01-29-04 at 03:58 PM.
Old 01-28-04, 02:30 AM
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So what you're saying is you don't believe it because you don't want to believe it. And the reason you don't believe it is because (in your opinion) it makes Castro look good. It doesn't matter that McNamara who had access to all the intelligence reports in 1962 believes it. You know where I'm going with this....
Old 01-29-04, 03:58 PM
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I don't believe it because Castro has always seemed like a man who would say anything to make himself "look good".

But what McNamera tells us isn't based on Intelligence reports. He says in the documentary that it's based on a meeting he had over dinner with Castro many years later. At that point in time Castro could say anything. If McNamera believes him then that brings me a little closer to believing it, but I think I'm perfectly within the bounds of rational thought to be skeptical about something Fidel Castro mentioned to Robert McNamera 30 years later over dinner. Let's face it, in the interest of saving face and looking strong Castro has a greater motivation to lie about something like that if it weren't true, then to tell the truth if it were true.

I'd like to add that after watching a film like Fog of War I've earned the right to be skeptical about the motivations of powerful leaders. There's a lot of sides to the truth these days. That's sort of the theme of the film. I don't dismiss anything McNamera tells us, but I still take it with a grain of salt and reserve the right to be skeptical. Your post announced that "my view of the last 60 years has been radically altered". My interest has been aroused but I'm not ready to realign my beliefs

Last edited by Pants; 02-05-04 at 03:36 PM.
Old 01-30-04, 11:58 AM
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Ok - fair enough and my use of the word 'radical' might not have been a wise one. I don't mean to imply that I've changed my views 180 after watching this film. However, there are some key points that change my understanding of the scope of key events and the reasons behind them.

Re: Cuban missile crisis - I'm not saying McNamara based his views on intelligence reports - but that he knew the possibility existed and he knew the shortcomings of what was actually known by the CIA in Cuba. You don't believe it because of your views of Castro - to me thats not the issue; most people say the world was at '2 minutes to midnight' at that point but with this new revelation we might actually have been at the 10 second countdown.
Old 02-05-04, 02:14 PM
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Just discovered the official web site which seems to have a lot of material:

http://www.sonyclassics.com/fogofwar/
Old 03-12-04, 10:52 PM
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"Required Viewing For All Americans" is one of the slogans used from a critique praising this film.

I can't say I disagree.

Engaging as ever and extremely moving at times.

RS McNamara goes into detail about his time as Sec. of Defense under JFK and Johnson.

Fascinating look inside the war room that is Robert McNamara's mind.
Old 03-12-04, 11:30 PM
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I, too, found this to be a great documentary. I'm not familiar with Morris's earlier work, but now I'm definitely curious.
Old 03-13-04, 02:15 AM
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Corvin, I think Morris' work is well worth seeking out - esp. the legendary The Thin Blue Line.

I was happy to see Morris get an Oscar for Fog of War which I thought was well deserved - its too bad he came off as some kind of egotist in his speech.

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