During the Vietnam War, I was a little kid. But I remember my mother reading the newspaper everyday, she'd make remarks similar to, "another [large number of] 18 year olds got killed." These comments became so common that I literally thought that I would die at the age of 18 -- war or no war. As a result, even though I didn't serve, since the age of 18, I look at each new year as a gift. As the vets in "Brothers in Arms" like to say about their years of life after service, "It's all extra."
Elsewhere, Kerry hadn't impressed me; he seems like a guy who's giving a speech all the time, whether he's talking one on one or to a group. And I'd expected this documentary to be pretty much propaganda for Kerry. But, really, although, the men who served along side him, have more or less good things to say about his service and command, he probably has more good things to say about them (yep, quite the politician.)
It's certainly likely also that this piece was produced to counter the negative statements publicized regarding Kerry's service in those swift boats. No matter, whatever the purpose, I think this is a fine production on its own. There's been so many films revolving around Vietnam, it's good to hear the story from the actual guys who fought there. In this case, a rather random group of men reflect on their service and their comrades, their feelings about the war, then and now.
Certainly, relevant to the upcoming election, there is some footage of a much younger Kerry speaking out against the war in Vietnam upon his return to the homeland. It's interesting to hear the mixed reaction of his bonded war buddies to Kerry's seeming reversal of position regarding that war. I left the film with more respect for Kerry -- for serving his country well, and then following his heart and speaking out against a war out of control. Both take great courage. Although, given that passion, I'm confused as to exactly why he voted for the war in Iraq.
Aside from an awkward last shot, the documentary is well edited, well paced, and feels genuine. It's educational, important and enjoyable independent of the Kerry campaign.
A limited theatrical release, but available at Firstrunfeatures.com.
You may also find these Vietnam War-related documentaries interesting: Return With Honor, Fog of War