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PRINT January 2004

film

Gary Indiana on The Fog of War

I WILL BEGIN BY ADMITTING that I fell asleep five times during a morning press screening of Errol Morris’s The Fog of War—which received its US premiere at the New York Film Festival last September and is currently playing in theaters around the country—and I left the auditorium with precious few impressions besides that of the spectacularly bad dental work that Robert S. McNamara, the former secretary of defense, exposed each time he was featured in close-up. Having now viewed the documentary three additional times, while fully awake, what ultimately seems most impressive about Morris’s skewed framing, Philip Glass’s brooding, ominous score, the cutaway montages of stock military footage from World War II and Vietnam, and the random clips of media moments from the era of McNamara’s cabinet tenure under Kennedy and Johnson is how well they are deployed to contrive an illusion of deepening

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