A murder mystery or national conspiracy surrounding the death of Dag Hammarskjold in 1961.
Cold Case Hammarskjold is unlike any documentary I have ever seen. From its execution to the subject manner, this film is a wild ride with twists around every corner and a supreme eye for detail. This is a murder mystery that turns into a nationwide conspiracy, and it’s exciting for its entire duration. The film is directed and narrated by Mads Brugger who leads the initial investigation of Dag Hammarskjold, secretary general to the UN who was killed in a plane crash in 1961, and long has there been speculation that it wasn’t just a freak plane crash but actually a murder, and when Mads Brugger and private detective Goran Bjorkdahl start uncovering the lies and truths surrounding the event, they find themselves deeper and deeper into a nation wide genocidal conspiracy with those who are still fighting to hide these truths as these two uncover them.
Now I don’t want to give too much away about this movie, because seeing it for yourself is really the only way to believe it. I went into this film almost completely blind, not knowing exactly what it was about, only that there was a murder mystery aspect to it. And while that is true, what it turns out to be is so much more and intense than anything I could have expected. I watched a trailer for it before going into it, and it was done tastefully as to inquire intrigue but not enough to give anything away, what this movie does is subverts everyone’s expectations including the filmmakers into thinking this conspiracy is going one way, but only to have it go down some deeper rabbit hole, it gets dangerous at times, and it uncovers a secret organization that dealt with such hateful crimes it could be compared to the acts done in WWII if it all came into full fruition. My only spoiler to get readers interested is that this organization was focused on a mass genocide of the black population in Africa. It’s a tough topic but one handled with care and an immense attention to detail.
Mads Brugger is a very likable documentarian, and he knows that, he has a sense of arrogance to him, but that might just be me looking on with foreign eyes, the film starts out with how he wants his own film to open so I got a sense of pretension starting off, but as the events are uncovered he becomes much more sympathetic and almost manic during the investigation, about halfway through he asks his writer is what he’s doing is complete bullsh*t and wonders if this film is going to mean nothing. Obviously that doesn’t turn out to be so because it’s going through the festival circuit right now, and I’m glad Mads Brugger stuck to his guns and kept going on with this fascinating subject.
After about 20 minutes and the initial setup is made about the investigation, the viewer then has no idea what will happen next, the whole time we are left in a sort of suspense wondering exactly what happened back in 1961 and if any of what is being said is true. Mad and Goran Bjorkdahl contact certain people via phone and even go as to find their private address to get the full story, sometimes they are met with hostility and other times they are welcomes with open arms from people who want to get this story off their minds and chest, it really makes the audience wonder just what the hell was happening in South Africa and the British government back in the 60s. It’s a wild and bizarre journey and one I simply cannot stop thinking about.
Overall Cold Case Hammarskjold is not a movie for the faint of heart or uninitiated to complex and hard hitting documentaries, but for this who want a satisfying mystery that will test your brainpower and one that’s not only exciting and but also one that’s very historically important, especially if what the filmmakers uncovered and discovered came into full effect, how different the world would be today then I can not recommend this movie enough. It has some brutal subject matter that may be disturbing to some, but the twists and just plane insanity of this documentary make it hard to find anything wrong with it. It’s a true testament to you “gotta see it to believe it” but it’s very true, if Cold Case Hammarskjold end up playing near you, I strongly recommend that you see it.
I give Cold Case Hammarskjold 5 stars out of 5.
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