Former US Secretary of State Robert McNamara looks back on a life that stretches from 'the war to end all wars', through active service in WWII, when his strategic recommendations may have led to the firebombing of Tokyo, and the massacre of 100,000 people overnight, though the Cuban Missile Crisis (when he was in the Oval Office with JFK), to Vietnam (with LBJ). Presented as a series of 11 life lessons - McNamara's own philosophical conclusions - the film in a sense allows him off the hook, except that he's too intelligent to cop out. As you would expect from Morris, perhaps America's most gifted film essayist, it's brilliantly realised and should be mandatory viewing for politicians on both sides of the Atlantic - not that it would do any good. 'Rationality will not save us,' McNamara declares. 'You cannot change human nature.'
Cast and crew