Cold Case Hammarskjöld – Hot Docs 2019 Quickie Review

If there’s any indication that the documentary genre will eventually sizzle out and shrivel into ashes, fear not fellow reader, because acclaimed director Mads Brügger is here to disprove that theory, with his latest film Cold Case Hammarskjöld. From minute one, it’s clear that Mads has a strong admiration for investigative journalism, when coming under his very own limelight. Cold Case Hammarskjöld is a film where not only does he use the power of historical recreation, journalism, and animation as means for enlightened presentation, but the facts and extensive research in which he and numerous others managed to collect, in order to reveal a certain covered bleak spot of history, is within itself, a miracle in documentary film-making. Never have I seen a director, so persistent, so engrossed by the material that he’s investigating and reflecting on, that the sequence of events in the the film, directly influence his moral compass and rational thinking throughout each shocking detail. This can be clearly seen, through the film’s excellent usage of meta-subtext.

Sure, Cold Case Hammarskjöld may have it’s moments of dullness, where the general pace and flow of the film is directly slowed down, in favor of repetitive story beats and presentation. But it’s more so the messages being told, the relevance of Mads journey, that make we, the viewer, reflect on the current state of bigotry and conspiracy on a global scale. Cold Case Hammarskjöld is easily one of the greatest docs to come out of the 21st century, and is one to be destined to become a cult classic.

Cold Case Hammarskjöld screened at this year’s Hot Docs Canadian International Film Festival, as part of the Special Presentations program. Magnolia Pictures will release the film on August 19th, 2019.

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