Re-release Date: August 12th-18th, 2005 (NYC-Walter Reade Theater) and August 19th, 2005 (NYC-Quad Cinema) by Milliarum Zero.
Original Release Date: January 27th, 1972.
Directed by Michael Lesser.
BASIC PREMISE: A documentary about the horrors of the Vietnam war with accounts from many American soldiers.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Despite being made over 30 years ago, this documentary is still timely and important today. Each soldier paints a very vivid picture of what they witnessed and experienced during the war simple with the simple power of their words. Many of the experiences were obviously graphic--both sexually and violently--but it is necessary in order to bring out the truth about what happened. The real issue that drives all these soldiers to speak is that the American government brought them into a country to kill without a clear purpose. The soldiers were brainwashed into becoming animals or pure killing machines. The speeches are inter-cut with some colorful images that describe what they are talking about, but the rest of the film is in black and white. It is easy to forget that it's in black and white because the speeches are so riveting and descriptive that one is easy drawn right into their imagination. In many ways, the soldiers overseas today are facing the same problems and horrors. Only when they finally come back home to civilization will they realize how significantly they have changed and how hard it is to adjust to their normal lifestyle.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: This is not a comforting film at all, but there is some satisfaction when the soldiers honestly discuss their thoughts and feelings without interruptions. It is sad when one of the soldiers blames an American civilian for his actions overseas simply because she voted to send the soldiers to war. It is also sad that the soldiers were dehumanized in many ways and, even worse, they dehumanized the Vietnamese (or "Gooks", as they used to call them). As as one soldier states, many innocent Vietnamese bystanders were killed and raped---at one point, a soldier admits that they were given orders to bomb anything that moved; they didn't even need clearance! The issue of racism is also brought up near the end by an African American, but it is implied throughout. What's most haunting about this film is that history has a tendency to repeat itself--and, in a way, it is repeating itself this very day overseas.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: None.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 0
THE BOTTOM LINE: A riveting and very timely documentary with very vivid, disturbing accounts of the Vietnamese War horrors from the soldiers themselves. A true eye-opener!
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)
The "W" Menu