Willie Waffle is the movie critic for people who hate movie critics.

The Man Nobody Knew - Review


mannobodyknewposter.jpgWhile a documentary about a former CIA director sounds like its entire audience can be found living in Georgetown and McLean, The Man Nobody Knew goes a bit further than that to become a study of American foreign policy and CIA involvement in the successful Cold War days post-World War II through the failures of Vietnam and into the light of the post-Watergate world.  If that sentence didn't put you to sleep, READ ON!

Director Carl Colby takes us on an examination of his father's work as William Colby rises to head the CIA, but it is not an apologetic film or even one with the greatest of insight.  Colby openly tells the audience this exploration is to know the father who never shared information about his job or his assignments with the people in his family, so our director is going back and trying to connect the dots with the help of experts who worked with Colby or studied his career. 

The result is an informative piece that could be considered a look at the rise of the American Century, the accomplishments of The Greatest Generation and the changes the country went through during the Vietnam War and Watergate as priorities changed and the idea of right and wrong modified as well.

The part of his subject Colby is most familiar with isn't examined as thoroughly as you might expect, but it becomes clear why as you listen to the director recall his childhood.  It's not a horrific tale, but you get the sense Colby's mother took on a great deal of the parenting as Colby the CIA Man was overseas with and without his family.  

Then, when his family was around, it sounds like Colby never turned off his work day, often combining family outings with mysterious meetings with clandestine figures.  Maybe that's the way it had to be, but The Man Nobody Knew also sounds like The Father His Family Never Knew, especially when Colby springs the somewhat surprise ending on us. 


3 Waffles (Out of 4)