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There is the bewilderment of those who see themselves fighting a war of independence only to be besieged by a nation that won its own freedom from colonial rule barely two hundred years earlier.
One is of a Massachusetts couple seeking a rationale—“Our system has worked better than any other”—for the loss of their son.
Another is of a paraplegic veteran who bemoans his loss of patriotic fervor.
Patton III describes his men as “reverent, determined, a bloody good bunch of killers.” A high school football coach tells his team to pray for victory, and another urges his to “win—kill ’em—win.” Edited down to 112 minutes from some two hundred hours of footage, this taut film is crammed with incident and anecdote, spiced with popular music and relevant Hollywood movie clips.
Particularly effective are three recurring interview vignettes.
“I could remember when people called me ‘blanket ass’ and ‘chief,’” but, simply put, “I wanted to go out and kill some gooks.” A returned Navy flier in sparkling whites, asked by a parochial school child what Vietnam looked like, replies, “If it wasn’t for the people, it [would be] very pretty.” Davis is a master of counterpointing by quick cutting.
Two sequences have become locked in my memory over the years, epitomizing his art.Throughout, there are the hawks and the doves, the military men, the advisers, the public figures, and the statesmen. Most memorably, Daniel Ellsberg explains his own change of viewpoint, recalling Robert Kennedy’s assassination and breaking down briefly, overcome with emotion at the thought of what might have been.In counterpoint, Davis offers heartbreaking exposition of what the Vietnamese are enduring, the horror and the sorrow and the devastation; the rage and frustration of the victims; the corruption and debauchery in high places and low; the steadfastness of exiled leaders.He does not become greater by good action nor inferior by bad action. Interestingly though, current medical science evidences how the physical heart is more than just a pump, indeed, has a little brain of its own.He is the Lord of All, the Overlord of Beings, the Protector of Beings." "So when the Bridegroom/the Word, came to me, he never made known his coming by any signs, not by sight, not by sound, not by touch. The neurological, hormonal & electromagnetic influence of the heart extends to all tissues, whereas its torus affects the direct environment of the organism. In general, the word "Divine" refers to "supernatural", meta-nominal phenomena.He turns, and we see that he is a technician in a veterans’ hospital, fitting a patient with a prosthetic leg.In effect, Peter Davis holds up a mirror to our national conscience, forcing upon us an assessment of our own immoralities and a probe of the values that created them."Smaller than the smallest, greater than the greatest, this Âtman forever dwells within the hearts of all. You, however, be as shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.'" Despite these multiple approaches, the various spiritual traditions perceive the heart as the main organ of spiritual experience.When a man is free from desire, his mind and senses purified, he beholds the glory of the Âtman and is without sorrow." "In the space within the heart lies the Ruler of All, the Lord of All, the King of All. Hermeneutically, this identification has been deemed merely symbolical, related to the powerful pulsating force of the physical heart, providing blood to all living tissues in the body.His is a thesis documentary, political and unashamedly compassionate, its righteousness and rightness its ultimate achievement.The historic outline of our involvement in Vietnam is presented in newsreel clips and interviews gathered in 19 in that country, the United States, and Paris.