Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers (2009)
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Average Rating: 8/10
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Average Rating: 4.1/5
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In 1971, Daniel Ellsberg, a top military strategist working for the RAND Corporation, leaked a 7,000 page document known as the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times. Disenchanted with the nation's conduct in Vietnam, Ellsberg believed the release of the top secret paper -- which outlined the "secret history" of the war -- was crucial to educating the public about the government's lies and misdeeds. This documentary chronicles the media and political frenzy that Ellsberg unleashed, and traces
Jun 1, 2009 Wide
Jul 20, 2010
First Run Features - Official Site
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For those who know the story, Most Dangerous Man puts it in fresh perspective. If you don't, there's probably not a better way to discover it.
This isn't a dusty chapter of ancient history, but a fresh, exciting story. Ellsberg, who worked as a defense analyst in the government-funded Rand Corp., emerges as a complex and contradictory character.
For those who lived through the turmoil of Vietnam, and for the generations that have come since, the film is an important document in its own right.
Ehrlich and Goldsmith carve out their own little place in the canon by focusing on the ethical journey of one man who refused to shrug off his own responsibility for the war and atoned for it with a seismic act of civil disobedience.
It is a skillful, well-made film, although, since Ellsberg is the narrator, it doesn't probe him very deeply. We see his version of himself.
Daniel Ellsberg was the first insider to take his concerns outside. The results changed the course of the conversation, and a country.
But because "Dangerous Man" sees the era through Ellsberg's eyes, and we hear the disgust in his voice as he describes his younger, gung-ho self, the film becomes a fascinating and clear-eyed self-portrait.
Stop me if you've heard this one, but sometimes politicians get us into wars that last forever and go nowhere under false pretenses.
Much research went into compiling the archival black and white news footage and photos along with audio from the Nixon White House tapes. This compelling film takes a cloak-and-dagger approach and is full of landmark historical events
This is such a gripping yarn it plays more like a thriller than a documentary.
It's a bit surprising that a documentary with such an unwieldy title offers such a streamlined and resonant account of history.
The makers of the Oscar-nominated documentary feature simply set up their cameras, and then just let the subject tell his own story in his own words.
Revealing and exciting, even for those oldsters who know perfectly well how it will turn out.
As a biography, it's sketchy (the impression we are left with is that Ellsberg is a near-saint). But as a personal take on a crucial chunk of American history, Dangerous is riveting.
It's a surprise that such an incredible story hasn't been told before in cinema, and the film takes full advantage of the story imbuing it with all the suspense of a thriller and raises important moral questions for the audience to consider.
There's reality and depth here, but a chill, too, that the filmmaking never quite manages to melt.
It's a story good enough to withstand the conventional documentary formula of archive footage and talking heads -- and maybe even good enough to withstand a few ill-advised sprinkles of hokey music, animation and re-enactments.
The enormity of the story juxtaposed with the notion of one man single-handedly changing history is irresistibly powerful
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