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In the Face of Evil

Movies | A two-hour glimpse of Ronald Reagan's dedication to dealing the death blow to Soviet communism

Issue: "Post-party election blues?," Nov. 6, 2004

One of the most relevant political documentaries in theaters this year is also the one most steeped in history. In the Face of Evil, executive producer Peter Schweizer told WORLD, "is key in understanding how we should fight the war on terrorism. While the enemy is different, the principles are the same-fight to win, and recognize that this is a battle between good and evil."

But the film isn't about al-Qaeda, or George Bush, or even Michael Moore. It's about Ronald Reagan's 40-year fight against communism. In the Face of Evil: Reagan's War in Word and Deed, based on Mr. Schweizer's book Reagan's War: The Epic Story of His Forty Year Struggle and Final Triumph Over Communism, has been in development for several years-and it shows in this polished production.

The film, which began a gradual national roll-out on Oct. 29, condenses Mr. Schweizer's book into a two-hour glimpse of a leader dedicated to dealing the death blow to Soviet communism. It features a wealth of historic footage, from Reagan's early dealings with communists in Hollywood as president of the Screen Actors Guild to his debates with Walter Mondale during the 1984 presidential race.

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It's all built around the premise that Reagan's fight against communism was well planned and executed; that the Great Communicator was not an "amiable dunce" presiding over inevitable events, but a master strategist aided by a few key freedom fighters who fully knew of the plan-men like Ed Meese, Bill Clark, and Bill Casey.

The film's weakest moments come in a "Coda" that makes explicit the connection between communism and terrorism. By this point, Reagan's timeless example of leadership and resolve has spoken for itself, without the need for forced relevance.

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