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Summary

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.

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