Reviewed bySean LambergerVote: 7/10/10
A career retrospective of former CIA director William Colby, whostepped in to bite the bullet when congress smelled blood followingWatergate and the Vietnam War. Left with nothing more than photos andquestions in the wake of his father's mysterious disappearance on anearly-morning canoe ride, Colby's filmmaker son doesn't seem to haveany alternative but to seek his answers in the past. The result is astartlingly open, sweeping glimpse at the CIA's involvement in Cold Warpolitics and the Kennedy / Nixon regimes. At times it's very dry, butthe narrative is constantly loaded with historical nuggets from the menwho lived it - like the kind of programming we could expect from theHistory Channel before it turned into whatever it is now. It's strangethat, as the scale increases, Colby almost becomes an afterthought inhis own story, but the film certainly tells a better story because ofit. Bittersweet, insightful and informative, if too reliant on talkingheads and Ken Burns photo zooms.
Reviewed bymoondog-8Vote: 2/10/10
If the filmmaker wants to make a personal video memory of his dad, sobe it. But to serve up this documentary as something serious, withdramatic and political context for a wider audience, then the filmmakertotally fails. It has too little structure, tension, and journalisticeffort to make an engrossing movie. So many follow-up questions aren'tasked, so much nostalgic remembrances by family members that serve nopurpose to a general audience, so many digressions, and no realexamination of the times. This might make a good present to othermembers of the director's family, but as something to leave the houseand go buy a ticket at a theatre, forget about it.
A son's riveting look at a father whose life seemed straight out of a spy thriller. The secret world of a legendary CIA spymaster. Told by William Colby's son Carl, the story is at once a probing history of the CIA, a personal memoir of a family living in clandestine shadows, and an inquiry into the hard costs of a nation's most cloaked actions.