The Disappearance of McKinley Nolan
Henry Corra, 2010, 88 mins. USA
Private McKinley Nolan vanished forty years ago in Vietnam on the Cambodian frontier. Some say he was captured, some say he was a traitor, some even say he was an American operative. The U.S. Army officially claims he was radicalized and “went native,” joined the Viet Cong and was later murdered by the Khmer Rouge. In 2006, retired U.S. Army Lt. Dan Smith, revisiting the battlefields of his youth, may have encountered McKinley, alive. So begins a journey into the heart of darkness.
The film follows the Nolan family from the cotton belt of Texas, to the battlegrounds of Vietnam, to the killing fields of Cambodia and unfolds as a mysterious fever dream filled with doubt, longing and the will to believe. Nolan’s ghost starts out seeming like a nostalgic vision that we want to capture. But, like a will-o-the-wisp or a banshee, he calls us deeper and deeper into the jungle, and into impossible liaisons with Viet Cong and Khmer Rouge. The Disappearance of McKinley Nolan is a mystery, but it’s also, more profoundly, a haunting meditation on war, memory, and love.
THE DISAPPEARANCE OF MCKINLEY NOLAN IS NOW AVAILABLE ON 10 VOD PLATFORMS VIA Sundance Institute.
FOR CURRENT NEWS AND UPDATES ABOUT THE FILM PLEASE VISIT: www.mckinleynolan.com
Best Documentary, Flyway Film Festival, 2010
Centerpiece Screening, Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival, 2010
Honorable Mention, Woodstock Film Festival, 2010
SilverDocs Documentary Film Festival, 2010
Austin Film Festival, 2010
New Hampshire Film Festival, 2010
Camden International Film Festival, 2010
Doc NYC, 2011
Denver Film Festival, 2011
Black Harvest Film Festival, Chicago, 2011
Louisville's International Festival of Film, 2011
Black Earth Film Festival, 2011
“Pvt. McKinley Nolan, the off-camera guiding force behind Henry Corra’s powerful new documentary film, is not a hero or anti-hero -- he’s a ghost. Forty years after Nolan disappeared in Vietnam, his brother and a well-intentioned Vet retrace his steps with the slim hope that McKinley may still be alive. Their search takes them from a congressional office in Texas to the killing fields of Cambodia, and each answer they uncover raises two more questions. To be sure, The Disappearance of McKinley Nolan is a mystery, but it’s also, more profoundly, a haunting riff on war, memory, and love.” - Paul Wachter, writer for The New York Times Magazine and The Nation
“A thriller punctuated with hauntingly edited images of period conflict footage… provocative mix of docu and experimental film…the search for one of the last missing G.I.’s in Vietnam proves a long and winding road into a sad heart of darkness.” - Eddie Cockrell, Variety
“The Disappearance of McKinley Nolan taps into this slow burner and raises our submerged anxieties to a bewildering, disturbing surface. A riveting documentary, not a straight line, not always simple to follow, and don’t expect a Hollywood ending. After all this is Vietnam.” - Stewart Nussbaumer, Huffington Post