Film Review

A very timely piece of history, “Going Upriver,” which aired at September’s Toronto International Film Festival, will only confirm once again that John Kerry was a dedicated and courageous soldier. Risking his life as a swift boat captain, Kerry’s courage is shown convincingly in rare footage taken by his lifelong friend and filmmaker, George Butler. And his courage is also displayed in his fearless criticism of the Vietnam War.

As one of the founders of Vietnam Vets Against the War, Kerry displays his leadership and organizing skills. His testimony in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in connection with the Winter Soldier Investigation is one of the most passionate appeals against the Vietnam War ever made.

The film is a rare inside look at where Kerry came from and how he came to think the way he does. Well-edited with intriguing interviews from family, politicians and members of the media, the documentary moves along swiftly and revealingly. Parallels to Kennedy aside, Kerry comes across as a great leader and organizer.

— Bill Meyer