Good Ol' Rummy | Film | Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon
Pin It

Good Ol' Rummy 

Donald Rumsfeld: Your friend and mine!

Donald Rumsfeld was the Secretary of Defense for the half-decade that included September 11 and a couple of wars you might have heard of. But before that he was a Nixonian power player and NATO globetrotter.

So it makes sense that Errol Morris would follow up his enormously powerful The Fog of War—which profiled another Cold War whiz kid, Robert McNamara—with a film about Rumsfeld. Unknown and Fog are similar in their components: A lengthy interview with a man at the axis of history, archival footage, slick infographics, and a lush soundtrack (this time by Danny Elfman, of all people).

There is, however, an inherent difference between the two films: McNamara was interviewed at the end of his life and almost 35 years after his political career ended. His frankness about the ethical horrors of the military-industrial complex is not mirrored by Rumsfeld, who's only been out of the spotlight for one presidential administration and ostensibly still has speaking gigs to consider. It often feels like Unknown Known was made too soon for a true accounting of events.

If you're expecting mustache twirling or teeth gnashing, don't: Rumsfeld comes across as a human being who did what he thought needed to be done. He's pragmatic, well-spoken, and occasionally funny. You may not agree with the decisions he implemented, but at least they're laid out in logical chains: If Saddam Hussein had remained in power, Rumsfeld argues, he would've shot down an American airplane. If we treated detainees like POWs, we couldn't interrogate them. It's the familiar rhetoric, though in a more measured, thoughtful format. And Rumsfeld damningly observes that many of the controversies discussed—like Guantanamo Bay and the Patriot Act—are still with us today, despite a partisan changing of the guard. In that respect, maybe this film wasn't made too early. Maybe it was made too late.

The Unknown Known

dir. Errol Morris

Tin Pan Theater

About The Author

Pin It

Speaking of...


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • California Dreamin'

    California Dreamin'

    Tarantino weaves a wondrous fairy tale
    • Aug 1, 2019
  • Boarding in Jordan

    Boarding in Jordan

    Locally produced documentary, "7 Hills," shows peace at the skatepark
    • Feb 12, 2020
Today | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun
JCMS Music and Instrument Pick Up

JCMS Music and Instrument Pick Up - Jefferson County Middle School

Mon., Sept. 21, 8:30 a.m.
Submitting an event is free and easy.

Newsletter Signup

Get Central Oregon daily news
directly in your inbox

Now Playing

By Film...

By Theater...

Get Social

Latest in Film

  • May the Source Be With You

    • Sep 16, 2020
    September Edition: Were we all raised by wolves? More »
  • Great Trouble

    • Sep 9, 2020
    Bend's Father's Group teams up With BendFilm for a thoughtful evening at the drive-in More »
  • Let's Try a Regal!

    • Sep 2, 2020
    As soon as possible, our local film reviewer headed to the cinema for an in-person show. Here's why he's not going back anytime soon. More »
  • More »

Give Guide

View Online

More by Ben Coleman

Want to advertise with us?

For info on print and digital advertising, >> Click Here

© 2020 LAY IT OUT INC | 704 NW GEORGIA AVE, BEND, OREGON 97703  |   Privacy Policy

Website powered by Foundation