Film

Well, Duh

Imagining the Obvious with Virtual JFK

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The title Virtual JFK: Vietnam if Kennedy Had Lived would suggest that the heart of the film is dedicated to imagining that "what if." The film's opening, too, makes an argument for conceiving and studying "counter-factual" history. But then, Virtual JFK launches into a completely fascinating and totally worthwhile historical documentary focused on JFK's avoidance strategies—which, despite constant pressure from US military advisors, saved the United States from disastrous confrontations no less than six times during his presidency.

But rather than be content as a documentary, Virtual JFK clings to a laughably obvious thesis: "Hey, just putting this out there," the film practically repeats over and over, "Maybe, given his behavior in the past, if he had lived, JFK miiiiight have avoided going to war in Vietnam!" Really? You think? So you're saying it matters who's president?

Virtual JFK also drops some incredibly heavy-handed hints to the audience that they are meant to be applying the lessons of the past to the current situation in Iraq, without directly coming out and saying so. (I know—mind... blown.) Other than the fact that this might very well make a great teaching tool for grade school history classrooms, the framework here is a real detriment to this film—which without it, would be an absorbing close-up of a visionary leader.

Related Film

Virtual JFK: Vietnam If Kennedy Had Lived

Official Site: www.virtualjfk.com

Director: Koji Masutani

Writer: Koji Masutani

Producer: Peter O. Almond, James Blight and Janet Lang

Cast: John F. Kennedy

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