The Fog of War Starring: Robert S. McNamara Director: Errol Morris The film: Esteemed documentary filmmaker Errol Morris (Gates of Heaven, The Thin Blue Line) turns his focus on former US Secretary of Defence Robert S. McNamara, a man who was in charge of, and wore much of the blame for, the monumental disaster that was the Vietnam war, before moving on to head the World Bank. Talk about popular postings. For the past 30 or so years, he has been like a hate figure or rallying point for protesters: all slicked-back hair and self-confidence, the very embodiment of government intervention and calculated, corporate cronyism. A man never seen to take a backward step, no matter what the dilemma or disaster he faced or created. What we get from Morris is a seasoned politician facing the camera - sometimes staring almost through you - and letting rip. He skirts around any apologies for what he has directly or indirectly caused in his career - and some of these things are pretty major, to say the least. He was involved in the fire-bombing of Japan during the second world war (100,000 civilians perished in one night), the near-nuclear disaster that was the Cuban Missile Crisis, and then on to the Vietnam war, with its napalm, Agent Orange and other dirty deeds. Through it all we get a frank and forthright explanation of what was going on and why he thinks certain things happen at certain times. It makes for riveting viewing, giving us an inner view of the workings of one of the most controversial minds in modern history. Time and time again, you'll be shocked into silence by how closely recent events mirror what has gone on before. Certain lesson, it seems, will never be learned. On the downside though, by focusing on McNamara, alone, we get no contrasting opinions, no fleshed-out examination of the whys and wherefores. This one-dimensional approach is testing at times, but that was the filmmaker's point: to hold up one man in history, and see if the layers peel away. In the end, we're never sure about what McNamara's involvement in the project was designed to do. Is he sorry? Trying to make amends for his mistakes? You can never really be sure with a man who continues, into his 80s, to play life off the front foot. The extras: Excellent. Twenty-four extra scenes with McNamara that, while not really offering much more insight into the issues the director tries to embrace, provide some fascinating anecdotes about and background to the man's life and times. He also presents his own 10 lessons learned from his life in politics - timely advice if any one at the Pentagon would care to listen. The verdict: Compelling viewing.