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Customer Review

54 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wrenching yet informative, October 3, 2004
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This review is from: Going Upriver - The Long War of John Kerry (DVD)
I saw this movie yesterday, and certain scenes are still going through my head, in particular two of the films most wrenching and powerful moments: the first during the Winter Soldier meetings, when veterans came together and talked about their terrible experiences during the war, and the second the moment when the soldiers threw their medals over a fence. That moment had been touched on in the press ad the Republican campaign recently, as the moment where John Kerry "threw his medals away."

But you see here hundreds of soldiers, sometimes even family members and mothers of soldiers who had died, going through true agony as they made the choice to throw their medals, which they felt they had earned with their blood and lives, over the wall. The feeling of betrayal, of hurt and fury were made palpable in the film.

These moments alone, which I had never read about in any detail in high school history books, even in discussions of Vietnam War opposition and protest, made the film worth seeing to anyone curious about the war, Kerry's role in it, and the frightening parallels to the war today. But the rest of the movie is very quiet and measured. It didn't fall into blind praise of Kerry as I had expected it would, but really tried to depict how the war affected him, and his transformation from soldier to protester in a way I found compelling. His testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during these protests is eloquent and compelling evidence of the kind of man he was then and, one hopes, the kind of man he is today.

That testimony, combined with the scenes of the VWVAW protests, especially when you consider how they were in effect spit upon and forgotten in the years since the war, will make this movie an informative and measured antidote to the spewing forth of empty rhetoric and shrill accusations this election season.
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