Synopsis by Nathan Southern
The weapon in question is not a firearm (as might be expected) but a camera: from the 1950s through the early 21st century, photojournalist and sports photographer Eddie Adams (1933-2004) caught a series of indelible images through his lens that dramatically reshaped the way in which the general public perceived the world. Adams perhaps gained broadest recognition for his wartime photography, delivering his most leaden punch in Vietnam, with a series of gritty, grainy, and shocking images that never shied from revealing the carnage and vile brutality of the war; in particular, his image of General Nguyen Ngoc Loan executing a Vietcong prisoner via a gunshot to the head attained iconic status and led many to attribute the U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam to Adams. Yet Vietnam only represented one of the photographer's coups; among other accomplishments, he "served" in 12 additional wars and used a series of photographic images to convince then-president Jimmy Carter to offer asylum to 200,000 boat people from Vietnam. In her documentary An Unlikely Weapon, filmmaker Susan Morgan Cooper takes on Adams as her subject, and -- shearing away all explorations of his personal life and history -- focuses exclusively on his professional life and personal vision as a photographer. Cooper cross-cuts between onscreen images of Adams's work and revealing interviews with many of his colleagues including Morley Safer, the late Peter Jennings and Tom Brokaw.