Film Comment - 11/01/2003
"...The vivid formal touches that infuse FAST, CHEAP & OUT OF CONTROL are [here]..."
Rolling Stone - 12/25/2003
"...It will knock you for a loop like no other movie this year..."
Entertainment Weekly - 12/19/2003
"...A stunning portrait of Robert S. McNamara....His answers to questions about war and peace build, via Morris' compositional artistry, to an exquisite peak of ambiguity and remorse..."
New York Times - 12/19/2003
"[A] sober, beautifully edited documentary portrait of the former United States defense secretary Robert S. McNamara."
Los Angeles Times - 12/19/2003
"Never one to shy away from challenges, Morris has come up with one of the best documentaries of this or any year."
USA Today - 12/19/2003
"[With] fly-on-the-wall recollections by a subject who can bring history alive..."
Sight and Sound - 04/01/2004
"THE FOG OF WAR is handsomely assembled..."
Uncut - 09/01/2004
"[T]he old Cold Warrior seizes what may prove to be his last chance to make peace with history. Riveting."
Wall Street Journal - 03/12/2010
"McNamara] spoke straight to the camera at the age of 85 in Errol Morris's haunting, troubling documentary."
Documentarian Errol Morris directs THE FOG OF WAR, a captivating look at Robert S. McNamara, who served as the Secretary of Defense during the Vietnam War and the Cuban Missile Crisis. The movie does not exclusively focus on this part of McNamara's career, however, and instead gives a broad overview of the man he was, his multitude of roles--a Harvard Business School graduate, a Colonel in the Air Force during WWII, president of Ford Motor Company--and his opinions on a variety of historical topics. Inspired by two books written by McNamara--IN RETROSPECT (1995) and WILSON'S GHOST (2001)--Morris gives McNamara a forum to talk about the decisions he made and the influence he had during his career. At the age of 85, McNamara has gained necessary perspective to do just that. Sharp as a tack, loaded with charisma, and generally fascinating, McNamara easily carries the film with his revealing interviews. Meanwhile, Morris's use of archival footage--along with maps and other effective visual aids--add context to McNamara's commentary, and Philip Glass's ominous, pulsing score gives the film's important subject matter the gravity it deserves.
American History |
Archival Footage |
Cold War |
Essential Cinema |
Historic Events |
Military (USA) |
Theatrical Release |
Vietnam War |
World War II
Theatrical Release: December 19, 2003 (NY/LA).
One of the most powerful aspects of Errol Morris's films is the way that his subjects--in this case, Robert S. McNamara--look directly into the camera and maintain near-direct eye contact. He achieves this with the use of his personal invention, the Interrotron. The Interrotron uses two-way mirrors, television monitors, and teleprompters to capture multiple angles of the interviewee. When over 20 cameras are used behind the two-way mirrors, Morris calls the device a Megatron.
Upon receipt of his Oscar for Best Documentary Feature, Morris related the discussion of the Vietnam War in his film to the US's 2003 war in Iraq, saying "Forty years ago, this country went down a rabbit hole in Vietnam and millions died. I fear we are going down a rabbit hole once again. And if people can stop and think and reflect on some of the ideas and issues in this movie, perhaps I've done some damn good here."