on 12 September 2002
Concise and tightly written, this is a good place to start for anyone who wants to expand there knowledge on the history of the Vietnam War film. Although little more than a reference guide, Russell provides a decent range of material from the most well known movies of the genre to the smaller, well guarded gems to the little unheard of pictures produced by the Vietnamese. The themes tackled are well handled and Russell provides a number of perceptive and sensitive observations on the nature of each films message and the genre as a whole. However, one of the few problems within the book is that Russell confines each movie to one singular genre, without developng further elements that are apparent in each movie. Yet at 96 pages this can be forgiven and keeps for a concise, straightforward read which is not bogged down in a more arduous academic style. Like I said, this book is best seen as a quick start reference guide and anyone who enjoys the read (and who watches the movies analysed) will no doubt progress to more substantial publications. Just remember though, don't be fooled by any critic in their opinion of Full Metal Jacket. Probably the most historically accurate Vietnam movie evermade, which can be attributed to the beautifully sardonic dialogue of the film rather than its visual perceptions, although Russell and many others will fail to acknowledge that to you.