A Bright Shining Lie Something in his past keeps career Army man John Paul Vann from advancing past colonel. He views being sent to Vietnam as part of the US military advisory force a stepping stone to promotion. However, he disagrees vocally (and on the record) with the way the war is being run and is forced to leave the military. Returning to Vietnam as a civilian working with the Army, he comes to despise some South Vietnamese officers while he takes charge of some of the U.S. forces and continues his liaisons with Vietnamese women. In war as in life the difference between truth and deception is what a man allows himself to believe.
As it really was
Low budget, but good
This movie may have low budget production values, but they did a fairly good job. Actual wartime footage is intermingled for good effect, especially in the opening sequence.
I had a bit of a hard time taking Bill Paxton serious in this role at first, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that he did a very credible job portraying Lt. Col Vann with the required swagger.
Though a bit over dramatic at times, and almost falling into cliché, I would have to recommend this movie. My only other criticism would be of the portrayal of the ARVN when under fire. The offices may have been beneath contempt, but when called to duty, the ARVN could mix it up with the best of them. They have been getting an unfair reputation for many years now.