Going Upriver: The Long War Of John Kerry

on October 01, 2004 by Susan Green
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However the 2004 presidential election turns out, Americans of the Anybody-But-Bush persuasion may feel far more impressed by the Democratic candidate after seeing "Going Upriver: The Long War of John Kerry." The chronology of this affectionate profile by George Butler ("Pumping Iron") never really covers much beyond the early 1970s. But, in a banner year for political documentaries, the film effectively addresses the current campaign controversy about who did what during the Vietnam War. It's packed with eloquent talking heads such as fellow veteran Bobby Muller, author Neil Sheehan and biographer Douglas Brinkley. Butler makes the case that Kerry fought bravely as commander of a swift boat, then mustered another kind of courage--no less patriotic--in protesting the futility of that conflict. The context of those terrible times becomes clear with archival footage of battle-scarred vets sobbing as they toss away their medals in honor of fallen comrades. Narrated by Ben Affleck. Starring John Kerry, Neil Sheehan, Senator Max Cleland, Thomas Oliphant, Bobby Muller, Douglas Brinkley, Senator Bob Kerrey and Joe Klein. Directed by George Butler. Written by Joseph Doorman. Produced by George Butler. A ThinkFilm release. Documentary. Rated PG-13 for disturbing images of war and some dialogue. Running time: 85 min
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