Throughout his career and his esteem as one of the greatest documentaries of all time, Morris has displayed a fascination with people and perception. His interview with Eric Olson, though not the only testimonial or interrogation, is central in a way that recalls his more one-on-one films (clips of Donald Rumsfeld help to particularly evoke his 2013 feature about the former Secretary of Defense, The Unknown Known, which could have been a proper title for this doc), while the dramatic scenes are reminiscent of The Thin Blue Line and Standard Operating Procedure. Though Wormwood might not be his greatest work, nor his most groundbreaking, it is a confluence of his methods, making it a sort of pinnacle effort in the evolution of his craft and of the true-crime genre in general.
Morris is best when he makes us question the accepted resolutions of a story and leaves us with alternative and often more certain conclusions (as in the revelation of the true killer at the end of The Thin Blue Line), even if those conclusions aren't established as fact. This time, among the many things he presents to viewers, including a portrait of Eric Olson and a crime drama with overtones of journalistic complexity, the filmmaker delivers implications of the unsettling probability that the government is even more conniving than the most paranoid citizen has ever previously imagined. That conspiracy theories could themselves be a cover-up conspiracy is Morris's most satisfyingly bitter ending yet.
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