Going Upriver: The Long War of John Kerry

Release Date: October 1, 2004
Limited release

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42/133 Dan Krovich A well done portrait of the man regardless of what you think about his politics

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A number of politically-based documentaries are set for releases that will coincide with the November 2004 presidential election. One such film is George Butler’s Tour of Duty, which will follow Douglas Brinkley’s non-fiction book about John Kerry’s naval tour of duty in Vietnam, his period of peace advocacy that followed, and the ways that both eras of his life helped to shape the man as a politician.

Butler’s previous documentary work includes Pumping Iron, a movie about a bodybuilder with designs on acting. That bodybuilder was Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the film made him a household name long before he had any sort of political aspirations or even real fame. Additionally, Butler found some critical acclaim with The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition, a retelling of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ill-fated exploration of Antarctica from 1914-1916.

Amusingly, Butler had about 40 hours of footage in the can on Kerry, a personal friend whom he had known for nearly 40 years, when he ran out of funds and had to put the project on hiatus. Shortly after Kerry won the Iowa caucuses, Butler had plenty of new-found investors and was able to progress with production.

Described by the director as a meshing of cinema verité and live-action re-enactments, Tour of Duty is aiming for a September release. Considering that several other politically-themed movies -- both fiction and documentary -- are planned for a similar street date, the cinema looks to have a more influential and informative role than ever before in the electoral process. (Kim Hollis/BOP)

Vital statistics for Going Upriver: The Long War of John Kerry
Director George Butler
Distributor ThinkFilm
Rating PG-13
Running Time 130 minutes
Screen Count 160
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture



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