HOW MANY COULD BE SAVED?
Many films have been made about the Vietnam War, but this documentary shows that its ending deserves to be told in a separate movie. Following the chaotic April week in 1975 when North Vietnamese forces were closing in on Saigon and the Americans had to find a quick way to evacuate their remaining citizens as well as the South Vietnamese who were close to them, the filmmakers build tension expertly. Using clarifying graphics, loads of exciting archive footage and putting the behind-the-scenes stories told by the people who were involved (including former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage who was a naval officer at the time) front and center, the movie gives us a complex impression of an operation that was logistically impressive – but sad and deeply embarrassing for the United States.
2014-U.S. 98 min. Color. Produced by Rory Kennedy, Keven McAlester. Directed by Rory Kennedy. Screenplay: Mark Bailey, Kevin McAlester.
Last word: “Some of them had written books – some of the Americans and the marines who were there during those final days. So we started with that for research. That helped lead us to some of the main participants that we ended up filming. As you interview people, they tell you about stories that seem worth pursing and will suggest other folks who can help unpack the story in greater detail. When we started this process, we had maybe a 20-page treatment of the story we wanted to tell. And as we got deeper into the research and the specific people who will tell the stories, you go off on tangents that feel relevant, but that you didn’t anticipate in the initial treatment.” (Kennedy, Esquire)