The Fog of War
Title: The Fog of War
Author: Academy Award; Independent Spirit Award (2003)
A captivating look at Robert S. McNamara, who was the Secretary of Defense during the Vietnam War and the Cuban Missile Crisis. Candid interviews about the decisions he made and the impact they had on his career are mixed with archival footage and maps.
The Fog of War, the movie that finally won Errol Morris the best documentary Oscar, is a spellbinder. Morris interviews Robert McNamara, Secretary of Defense in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, and finds a uniquely unsettling viewpoint on much of 20th-century American history. Employing a ton of archival material, including LBJ’s fascinating taped conversations from the Oval Office, Morris probes the reasons behind the U.S. commitment to the Vietnam War—and finds a depressingly inconsistent policy. McNamara himself emerges as—well, not exactly apologetic, but clearly haunted by the what-ifs of Vietnam. He also mulls the bombing of Japan in World War II and the Cuban Missile Crisis, raising more questions than he answers. The Fog of War has the usual inexorable Morris momentum, aided by an uneasy Philip Glass score. This movie provides a glimpse inside government. It also encourages skepticism about same. —Robert Horton