MIFF 2014 – The Unknown Known (2013)

Director: Errol Morris

I am a big fan of the work of this director and have read several of his New York Times columns on photography in depth and have the complete series of his TV series First Person.

While I have not seen the documentary Standard Operating Procedure or Tabloid that proceeded this one, I still want to see them. Ever present in the background is the Fog of War, but it is never really going to go away and its impact has not diminished over time.

In many ways this feels like a semi-sequel to the Fog of War with Donald Rumsfeld facing questions about a major war that is still having consequences today.

Unlike the Vietnam War, the situation in Iraq is still playing out and it caused many laughs based on bitter irony as the reverse of what Donald Rumsfeld was hoping to happen with the invasion of Iraq has happened.

Much to Donald Rumsfeld’s credit that he does not try to dodge any of the questions and his demeanor does not change throughout even though he is well aware the way the director is going to try and spin his answers to make them sound worse than they are.

The success of the documentary is also in letting Rumsfeld explain himself fully so that you can see his point of view and understand his reasoning even if you do not agree with the decisions he made of the foreign policy of the George W Bush presidency from the period.

I look forward to seeing this again on DVD or on TV where it is sure to find a wider audience amongst recent history buffs or those interested in geopolitics.

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