Epic story of one of the most consequential, divisive, and controversial events in history as never told before on film. Visceral and immersive, exploring the human dimensions of the war through revelatory testimony of nearly 80 witnesses.
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SHARP & EXPLOSIVE! Burns & Novick bring to life Vietnam war, the mother of modern wars, by those who lived it, Vietnamese & Americans, in a fresco worthy of Apocalypse Now or The Deer Hunter. === Burns & Novick font revivre de manière inédite la guerre du Viêtnam, cette mère des guerres modernes, par ceux qui l’ont vécue, Vietnamiens & Américains, dans une fresque digne d’Apocalypse Now ou Voyage au bout de l’enfer.
Ken Burns's expository documentary style may seem dated, but is invaluable here in creating a record of a war that was as pointless and quixotic as it was cruel and murderous. As politicians pored over kill ratios and decried critical media as fake news, men too young to legally drink alcohol were being killed in jungle hills so that a divided US could shore up its reputation overseas. Tragic and essential viewing.
For me, documentaries need to achieve one of two objectives to be truly outstanding: they either need to transcend the genre and become a distinct and sublime work of art through the creative process of the auteur (e.g. Sans Soleil); or they need to provide a definitive account of their subject - as would a great historical text - with artistic profundity (e.g. Shoah). The Vietnam War falls into this second category.
This documentary is pretty far removed from any analysis about imperalism. Follow the money, and you will understand more than you will after watching this. But needless to say maybe, there are many interesting clips. I just saw Ken Burns praising John McCain on Twitter today, that should be a proof this should be taken with a grain of salt.
I'm a sucker for Ken Burns docs and this one is no different. The fact that he had more footage (and living subjects) to work with makes it feel like a modernization of his modus operandi which was nice. Also, the Reznor/Ross score is ★★★★★ all by itself.