Film and TV

An Unlikely Weapon

Eddie Adams, the late photographer at the center of An Unlikely Weapon, which opens July 2, was a romantic of an especially cantankerous sort. He's most famous for a Vietnam-era photo of a prisoner being executed in the middle of a street — but rather than reveling in the accolades that came his way over the image, he bitched about how the composition was lousy and the lighting was all wrong. At times the film veers close to hagiography, with narrator Kiefer Sutherland and interview subjects like Tom Brokaw and Peter Jennings regularly piling on the superlatives. But the tale retains an edge thanks to Adams's orneriness, not to mention the contradictions that marked his career. For instance, he spent many of his post-Vietnam years shooting soft-focus centerfolds for Penthouse or comparatively vapid celebrity covers for Parade — but he kept being drawn back to combat zones, where his indelible images of refugees and other victims of war proved that top-dollar commissions hadn't caused his heart to wither.

Director Susan Morgan Cooper introduces An Unlikely Weapon during a 7 p.m. appearance at Starz FilmCenter in the Tivoli. Tickets are $6 to $9.50 for this event, as well as for regular screenings that begin July 3. Get details at 303-595-3456 or

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts