Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

After Moore, Check out McNamara

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

After Moore, Check out McNamara

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Woods, Times-Union columnist

I saw Fahrenheit 9/11 the other night.

I left the theater thinking that if I were playing movie critic for a day, here's what I would say:

There is a movie you need to see, a movie you need to tell others to see, a movie that will make you think about what is happening in the world today, a movie that I want to go back and watch again.

It's called The Fog of War.

Fog didn't get nearly as much attention as Fahrenheit. It came out in 2003, played briefly in select theaters, made a few headlines, quietly won the best-documentary Oscar and then faded away.

I never got around to seeing it on the big screen. But shortly before Fahrenheit's opening, Fog came out on DVD. And even on a small screen in a small living room, it is fascinating viewing.

In Fahrenheit, Michael Moore uses emotion.

In Fog, Errol Morris uses history.

It is a movie that he started working on before Sept. 11, before Iraq, before f-words -- Fahrenheit and otherwise -- were being tossed around the Senate floor.

It has nothing to do with current events. And it has everything to do with them.

It is, at its core, a 106-minute interview with an 85-year-old man, best known for his role in the Vietnam War. If that doesn't sound boring enough to make you sprint to another aisle of Blockbuster, there is the subtitle: "11 Lessons from the Life of Robert McNamara."

Yet, from the beginning, it is compelling and eerily relevant.

McNamara looks directly into the camera -- a camera that Morris designed out of modified teleprompters with the goal of eye-to-eye contact -- and says: "My rule has been to try to learn, try to understand what happened. Learn the lessons and pass them on."

As you watch McNamara, with his combed-back hair and blunt delivery, it is hard not to think of the man who holds his old job, Donald Rumsfeld. …

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