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A Bright Shining Lie [DVD]


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Product details

  • Actors: Bill Paxton, Amy Madigan, Vivian Wu, Donal Logue, Ed Lauter
  • Directors: Terry George
  • Producers: Greg Ricketson
  • Format: PAL
  • Subtitles: Greek, Croatian, Danish, Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian, Portuguese
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: 9 Oct. 2007
  • Run Time: 114 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000VG8VZE
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 80,298 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

Lieutenant John Paul Vann (Bill Paxton) was one of America's most vociferous campaigners for military action in Vietnam to thwart communist expansion in Asia. His advice was taken and in the disastrous decade long war that followed, Vann continued to exert an influence, first as military adviser, then, after his resignation, as a civilian appointee of President Nixon. In charting the career of this controversial figure, the film exposes the errors of judgement and wholesale deceit that have left a permanent scar on the nation's psyche.

From Amazon.co.uk

Based on Neil Sheehan's controversial book about the making of the Vietnam war, this HBO production is told from the perspective of Lt. Colonel John Paul Vann (played by Bill Paxton), one of the original military advisers sent in 1962 to prop up the fledgling South Vietnamese army against the Viet Cong. Battle-ready and enthusiastic upon his arrival, Vann quickly learns that political and social pressures are causing the South Vietnamese to doctor evidence of their victories and local military brass to take undeserved credit for overhyped battles. As the propaganda draws America ever deeper into a war most people clearly don't understand, Vann takes issue with the corruption and finds his career in tatters--only the beginning of a long journey that piles tragedies upon ironies.
Written and directed by Terry George (Some Mother's Son), A Bright Shining Lie has a somewhat rushed and brittle quality to it, made all the more dry by passages from Sheehan's book read, documentary-style, by Donal Logue. But George also makes a case for Vann's more blatant personal contradictions--such as the casualness of his womanizing when he so clearly loves his wife (Amy Madigan)--that only grow as years pass and political myths supporting the war fold over onto themselves. (Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg, more or less played in this film by Eric Bogosian, has taken issue with this depiction of Vann's character.) Sustaining the whole project is Paxton's focused, thoughtful performance, and an enduring public hunger to know just what it was that happened in Vietnam. On both counts, the film is well worth seeing. --Tom Keogh

Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Having read the book I was fascinated to see how they would render Vann's 'larger than life' life story. In the time allotted
it was impossible to capture the complexity of the individual so the character that emerges is a bit two dimensional. Having said that you can at least get an idea of his extraordinary career. Bill Paxton is good in the main role as a charismatic leader who believed in the aims of the war though not in the execution but by the end he seemed to be almost embody the hubris and folly of America's involvement in Vietnam
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 29 Dec. 2005
Format: DVD
A BRIGHT SHINING LIE is the ostensibly true story of one American's involvement in the Vietnam conflict over the period 1962-1972, and strides the middle ground between the ridiculously gung-ho GREEN BERETS (1968) and the blatantly anti-war APOCALYPSE NOW (1979) and PLATOON (1986).
Bill Paxton plays John Paul Vann, a lieutenant colonel first assigned to Military Assistance Command Vietnam in 1962, and who later resigned under a cloud after telling anyone who'd listen, including the press, that the Army's top brass was botching the war - a bad career move if there ever was one. Later, he returns to Vietnam as a civilian and achieves de-facto 2-star rank as a Senior Advisor given virtual command of South Vietnamese troops opposing a North Vietnamese Army offensive before himself being killed in a helicopter crash.
Since A BRIGHT SHINING LIE came to me as a bonus DVD packaged with BAND OF BROTHERS, I thought it therefore might be rather cheesy. But, I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of this HBO original film release. Why, it was almost of Big Screen production quality.
Granted, when Paxton gets steely-eyed and juts his jaw aggressively, there's not the same heroic effect as displayed in WE WERE SOLDIERS (2002), but we all can't be Mel Gibson. However, the film effectively shows a man whose inner drive compels him to go to war, have the audacity to think he can win it single-handed, and cheat on his wife as a form of relaxation. One can almost see the testosterone sloshing back and forth.
For a small screen release, the combat scenes and special FX are quite good.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The movie may just hold your interest if you have not read the book, and may reveal a few things you didn't know about American involvement in the Vietnam war. But while it is solid, it does have that 'TV Movie' feel and doesn't have time to do justice to the excellent Pulitzer winning door-stop on which it is based.
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By frontera23 on 3 Jan. 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
For all war movie fans this is a great movie to watch, more so as it is based on a true story. It arrived within a few days of order and was in perfect condition, a great addition to my collection
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