Recent documentaries 2


Errol Morris' "Fog of War" is easily the best of the recent documentaries I've seen. Eleven lessons from Robert MacNamara, and at first it feels like a screen adaptation of one of those management style books written by a former corporate executive (MacNamara used to run Ford, and claims credit for helping develop the saftey belt), advice on how to run a company or one's life, then turns (gradually, subtly, beautifullly) into something altogether more ominous--into a portrait of a complex and strangely fascinating monster, into a documentary about how MacNamara didn't take his own sound advice.

The eleventh lesson--that you can't change human nature--is like an epitaph on MacNamara's life, as you see him arriving at a kind of self-constructed state of equilibrium, coming to peace (in the course of the interviews) with what he is and what he's done...even if what he's done involved America in possibly the most ruinous war it ever fought (though Rumsfield looks set on breaking that record). You can't help thinking as you watch his face during the final minutes and epilogue: that epitaph, it could apply to all our lives.

No comments: