An engaging walk through some of the key inventions of th last century and some major achievements. IBM invented the barcode. IBM created the airline reservation system. IBM created the ... See full summary »
This same director also made Fog of War, a similar film that featured an extensive interview with Vietnam-era Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara. Both films were highly critical of their lead subjects management of war. See more »
An interesting idea, but presented in a format that sometimes becomes quite boring
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Former US Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld finds himself being grilled one on one by documentary maker Errol Morris in this follow up to his 2003 expose The Fog of War. A controversial figure as a result of being one of the key architects of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Rumsfeld is called to defend his actions, and is put in the spotlight about some glaring inconsistencies in the thousands of memos, 'snowflakes', as he called them, that he was fond of writing that questioned the validity of the invasions. At the same time, Morris presents some of the background of his subject, from being the youngest and then the oldest holder of his post, as well as serving under no less than four US presidents.
Being remembered, as it will, as the first big war of the 21st century, the invasion of Iraq is still seen by many as a massive travesty, and a gross abuse of power, that many still want answers to. In some small way, Errol Morris here attempts a stab at this, by gaining access to one of the key figures at the heart of the matter. Throwing the spotlight completely on Rumsfeld, the man and his foibles are exposed for all to see, and with no escape. The title of the film is a part of one of the man's most confusing and tongue twisting uses of language, that probably makes a lot of sense to him, but just confuses (and infuriates) most others. He continues with this type of garble throughout, and often rounds it off with that questionable grin of his that will make him even harder to stomach for those already unconvinced by his rhetoric.
The film covers a lot of interesting ground, and has much back story to ponder over, but there's little to be distracted from than a man sitting down and talking to a camera, which is inevitably boring at times and causes your attention to wonder. It might also be a case of too much information to take in, at a running time stretching to just over an hour and a half. All the same, I can say I preferred it to The Fog of War, with Morris somehow managing to make it all just a little more digestible and affecting.
Rumsfeld doesn't come off as an entirely desirable guy, a man who clearly uses language designed to sound clever but obviously just with the purpose of confusing, whose nonsense is signed off with a patronising smile, and who leaves a lot of unanswered questions on the lips of those affected by the not completely kosher decisions he was part of making. For those who already weren't fond of him, it won't make them feel any better, whilst others will just see the man behind the suit, and have to make their own mind up. Morris has brought him out in a manner that has a lot of interesting material, but not the most thrilling execution. ***
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