Last Days in Vietnam is the latest documentary from Rory Kennedy. It’s about, well, the last days in Vietnam, for the Americans that is. The film focuses on the final weeks of the Vietnam War and the American Embassy as the North Vietnamese Army closes in on Saigon. American Soldiers and diplomats are put between a rock and a hard place; follow orders and evacuate only U.S. Citizens, or risk their lives and careers to save as many South Vietnamese citizens as they can.
The good; this film really shines a light on an aspect of the Vietnam War that’s hardly been covered. When I heard that I thought, “really?” I was skeptical, which only fueled my curiosity, it was my delight to learn that this was in deed true. It’s amazing when a film is able to show you a new perspective on a familiar topic, it’s as if you look at your hand one day and discover a new wrinkle, it’s always been there but this is the first time you’re paying attention to it.
The film manages to focus on the moral dilemma and the stories of people who were there, while still giving us the historical facts, but it doesn’t get lost in the events. Rather, it chooses to dwell on the people.
The bad; too little interviews, if that’s a criticism at all. I’m surprised that they interviewed who they interviewed at all.
The availability and accessibility of this film… I was lucky to even catch it, this one week that it’s playing in Los Angeles. Hopefully it’ll get a wider release on Netflix or some other platform.
Overall, I highly recommend this film. Not only for the history buffs in us, but for the sake of learning from our mistakes. America seems to not learn from it’s past, with the Vietnam Embassy to Mogadishu to our current situation in the Middle East, when will it stop?
My hopes is that this film will be seen by more people. Catch it while you can. Learn more here.