Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Unknown Known (2013)

Director: Errol Morris. 103 min. Rated PG-13. Documentary.

The long-awaited interview, especially now that the dust in Iraq has settled (well, maybe not). After interviewing McNamara in his Oscar-winning Fog of War, the great Errol Morris chats with another ex-Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, mainly: 'Why were we in Iraq?' Even if you were against the war (myself included), the man still deserves to be heard, and I was mesmerized numerous times in the process, rewinding a scene, watching Rumsfeld's direct gaze, taking in those very weighted pauses. Morris (correctly) doesn't press too hard, but still, with all his contradictions, you think: maybe the man was slightly misjudged. 

PS: Errol Morris dedicated his movie to Roger Ebert.

PPS: Godfrey Cheshire does a very nice piece on the film here, especially: 

""The Fog of War" and "The Unknown Known" are a strikingly matched pair, one a modernist masterpiece, the other dizzyingly post-modern. Robert McNamara's testimony in the first film offers the satisfactions of a genuinely deep and penetrating self-analysis, and that's obviously because he came from a world where there were clear distinctions between right and wrong, good and bad, success and failure – words that at one time actually meant something and had real personal consequences. Rumsfeld in contrast belongs to a world in which there is no real accountability, either public or private, in large part because words can be bent to mean anything, or nothing. The proof of this in "The Unknown Known" amounts to a valuable if tremendously damning commentary on our current political culture."

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