I’ve always enjoyed Errol Morris’ documentaries as he has a confident approach, which shows yet again in THE UNKNOWN KNOWN. Giving former U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld plenty of rope to hang himself with, Morris guides him on a trip down memory lane via the mountain of memos that the obsessive Rumsfeld wrote during his time as a high-level executive for four Republican presidents.
It examines such riveting topics as Vietnam, The Cold War, Desert Storm and the War on Terror.
With a smug, self-righteousness, Rumsfeld gladly reveals his feelings on his tenure in Washington with no real signs of remorse or humility. When questioned about the facts not adding up to his memory, he grins and easily dismisses the discrepancy with more of his evasive double-talk.
What’s so tragic about watching documentaries like this is that here is a man with such immeasurable power yet he doesn’t seem to speak for the people. It’s as if he lives on a different plane of existence where he doesn’t fully feel the weight of his decisions especially ones that ultimately send people to their deaths.
I’m not a very political person to begin with and even after watching THE UNKNOWN KNOWN I don’t see Rumsfeld as the worst of the worst, but he doesn’t speak well for the men in power that run our country.
If you are interested in the inner workings of top-level government, this film is an eye-opener and for those that enjoy just a beguiling subject, this film is for you as well.