Monday, March 11, 2013

The Trials of Henry Kissinger (2002)

Director: Eugene Jarecki

Starring: Henry Kissinger, Brian Cox

More info: IMDb

Plot: Part contemporary investigation and part historical inquiry, documentary follows the quest of one journalist in search of justice. The film focuses on Christopher Hitchens' charges against Henry Kissinger as a war criminal - allegations documented in Hitchens' book of the same title - based on his role in countries such as Cambodia, Chile, and Indonesia. Kissinger's story raises profound questions about American foreign policy and highlights a new era of human rights. Increasing evidence about one man's role in a long history of human rights abuses leads to a critical examination of American diplomacy through the lens of international standards of justice.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again? Maybe.

I find politics both interesting and boring.  As a kid growing up in the 70s I remember seeing Kissinger on the news all the time.  As I went through the decades all I can tell you about him is that he was Nixon's Secretary of State and a foreign policy superstar.  I learned more about the man in an hour and fifteen minutes than I had by passively paying attention to the evening news 35 years ago.  Sad?  Probably, but I was a kid.  Now there's a documentary that examines his deeds with a magnifying glass...and Christopher Hitchens's whisky glass (in fairness, they never showed Hitchens drinking but you just know there's a glass of Scotch and an entire pack of lit smokes just out of the camera's view.  Anyway, this is an interesting look into the prolonging of the Vietnam war at a time when Nixon had run his election campaign on ending it.  It also shows us how Kissinger rose to power and the consequences of his influence.  It's worth watching but I feel like I need to see it again to fully understand everything.  There's a lot packed in that buck fifteen of screen time.  If I do give it another spin you can bet I'll be drinking that glass of Scotch whether Hitchens does or not.

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