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Last Days in Vietnam

Director:  Rory Kennedy
Year Released:  2014
Rating:  3.0

Kennedy revisits the final moments of the fall of South Vietnam by Northern forces and the chaos that ensued as the United States evacuated the country and residents of Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) stormed the Embassy. Told simply and efficiently - it was funded by PBS - it's a frills-free depiction of what happens when bad decisions are made and defeat is begrudgingly accepted (the incident with the Chinook helicopter alongside the aircraft carrier is a very powerful moment). I had the fortune of being able to see it with my father, a Marine and Vietnam Vet (who has turned into a scholar of war): though the documentary doesn't cover it, he argues the South Vietnamese "gave up" and many refused to keep fighting, which is why South Vietnam fell so quickly (for further reading, look up the life of Marine John Ripley and his heroism at the Dong Ha bridge).

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