This documentary was nominated for an Oscar this year – it lost to Citizenfour. Even though I hit the categories hard, I only managed to see 3 of the 5 before the Academy Awards were broadcast and I’m sadly only getting around to this one now.
This film offers a fresh perspective on the end of the war – the kinder, softer side of an action that’s been vilified and condemned, and for good reason, but this movie shows that no matter what the politicians were maneuvering, there were good hearts over there doing their best to help real people.
As American troops are removed from South Vietnam, the North is marching in, and cities are falling. The American embassy is cognizant of what their pull out will mean to the people, especially the Vietnamese who were known allies. Lots of American soldiers and Vietnamese heroes risked their lives and went against White House orders in order to help evacuate the panicked, innocent residents.
There’s nothing innovative here, it’s just diligent work. Rory Kennedy uses great archival footage, lots of in-depth, exhaustive first-person interviews, and paints a panoramic view of what could only have been a chaotic time, while being sensitive to the moral dilemma at its heart.