"An Unlikely Weapon: The Eddie Adams Story"
By Lisa KennedyDenver Post Film Critic
The late Susan Sontag wrote in her extended essay on war photography "Regarding the Pain of Others," that "when it comes to memory, the photograph has the deeper bite."
When one watches "An Unlikely Weapon," directed by Susan Morgan Cooper, it is easy to concur.
Time and again, Adams' shots trump video images of the same situations. A pan of the faces of Vietnamese "boat people" doesn't stir the woeful information of Adams' photos of children and parents hunkered down in boats refused entry into Thailand.
It's used in agit-prop cartoons. A movie clip shows it looming over Woody Allen in "Stardust Memories," a symbol of the character's dark moods.
The photograph was credited with changing hearts and minds back home. It is as indelible an image of warfare as Robert Capa's photo of a militiaman during the Spanish Civil War. Or closer to home: Adams' Associated Press colleague Nick Út's 1972 photo of 9-year-old Kim Phuc running naked after a napalm attack.
Yet, says Adams of his own acclaimed photo, "When I see the picture, I wasn't impressed. And I'm still not impressed."
"An Unlikely Weapon" also covers well Adams' powerful, later work with performers (Louis Armstrong and Clint Eastwood) and other luminaries (Bill and Hillary Clinton).
In 2004, Adams died from complications from ALS.
Thankfully, there is no shortage of folk to attest to Adams' gifts.
Film critic Lisa Kennedy: 303-954-1567 or firstname.lastname@example.org; also on blogs.denverpostcom/madmoviegoer
Not rated 1 hour, 25 minutes. Directed by Susan Morgan Cooper; written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely; photography by Isaac Hagy; narrated by Kiefer Sutherland; featuring Eddie Adams, Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings, Gordon Parks, Bill Eppridge, President Bill Clinton, David Hume Kennerly, Rod Steiger, Kim Phuc, Morley Safer, Nick Ut, Bob Schieffer, Peter Arnett, Clay Patrick McBride and Kerry Kennedy, among others. Opens today at the Starz FilmCenter