‘Downfall: The Case Against Boeing‘ is a documentary discussing two crashes of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. It is directed by Rory Kennedy with Ron Howard serving as an executive producer. It had its premiere at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival before being streamed on Netflix.
In 2018, the Boeing 737 MAX suffers a crash off the coast of Indonesia where the entire crew and passengers die. The black box reveals that a part called the MCAS malfunctioned. Boeing refuses to ground the planes. A second crash in Ethiopia of the same airplane causes public pressure when the MCAS was again shown to be the cause of the crash. As the investigation continues, more secrets are revealed as Boeing continues to blame pilot error for the problem, prompting victim families to fight back.
The documentary reveals the underbelly of corporate greed and deception that led to a faulty system being placed on the Boeing aircraft. The feature does a good job of highlighting these issues and shows how lives were lost by circumventing safety protocols. Of course, the filmmakers tried to blame the company’s expansion for this issue. The director said it plainly.
“There were many decades when Boeing did extraordinary things by focusing on excellence and safety and ingenuity. Those three virtues were seen as the key to profit. It could work, and beautifully. And then they were taken over by a group that decided Wall Street was the end-all, be-all. There needs to be a balance in play, so you have to elect representatives that hold the companies responsible for the public interest, rather than just lining their own pocketbooks,” Kennedy told the Guardian.
Even the documentary admits the company went more “Wall Street” focused in the 1980s, but somehow this whole incident can be traced back to the moment. It was a leap and an ironic one made considering this documentary is being streamed to the Netflix app. It is a shame that the movie took time to virtue signal because the victims really should have been the total focus of this feature.
Outside of that, it tells a compelling story. Boeing did do the wrong thing by denying pilots the necessary training for the MCAS system and lives were lost as a result. Holding them accountable is important and one thing the documentary does do is highlight what a tragedy this event really was.
Check out the trailer below:
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Discussion of disaster, Some foul language, Thematic elements
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