First Look at Errol Morris’ The Unknown Known

Errol Morris’ Donald Rumsfeld doc The Unknown Known played at Telluride last night (to somewhat mixed reactions), and today Vice has the first clip from the film. Delving into almost 50 years of Rumsfeld’s memos, which he refers to as “snowflakes,” the film obviously harkens back to Morris’ Oscar-winning The Fog of War also an intimate examination of a failed U.S. war with the Secretary of Defense who oversaw it — but with a difference. Whereas Robert S. McNamara was looking back 40 years after the fact on his handling of the Vietnam war, Rumsfeld is here talking about a still ongoing war and, moreover, seems incredibly at ease in his conversations with Morris. This is performance — measured, untroubled — and lacks the immediacy (and so, maybe, the power?) of the film that preceded it.