Movies: The Power but No Glory

Two superb films from director Phillip Noyce zero in on the hurt and humanity of politics gone wrong

When great nations have grand plans, the little people know to run for cover. In the early '50s, Americans had the notion to save Vietnam from communism; by the end of their crusade, 2 million Vietnamese were dead. In the 1930s, Australian settlers ruled that half-caste Aborigines were to be removed from their homes and raised by whites; this policy of eugenics by abduction, which continued until 1970, left generations of indigenous people literally and culturally orphaned. In each case, white people pursued social experiments they considered noble, and darker people suffered.

The director Phillip Noyce has made two new films--The...

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