The Unknown Known

Donald Rumsfeld comes across as a real character in Errol Morris’s “The Unknown Known.”

Errol Morris must have been ecstatic at the opportunity to interview Donald Rumsfeld for his latest film “The Unknown Known.”

The man, despite his politics and his unique perspective on his actions and the history he helped lead this country through, is a one-of-a-kind showman, infectious in front of interviewers and cameras. He discusses national policy of the gravest of circumstances with paradoxical double speak, and he seems to end each turn of phrase with a disarmingly knowing smirk.

And yet Morris must also have been surprised to talk with Rumsfeld simply because in some ways, he’s been at the root of Morris’s work for the last decade. After “The Fog of War” and “Standard Operating Procedure,” Rumsfeld can finally give Morris not the answers he’s looking for but the perspective straight from the horse’s mouth.

In some ways, “The Unknown Known” is Morris repeating the style and the work he did in “The Fog of War,” jumping down the same rabbit hole with a different Secretary of Defense. And yet in another, this is Morris doing what he does best, composing an incisive and tense documentary capable of near damning revelations and understandings of perspectives. Continue reading “The Unknown Known”