Damning Doc paints a portrait of corporate cowardice

“Downfall: The Case Against Boeing” is an impressive investigative film genre. But the most compelling aspect of Rory Kennedy’s damn documentary isn’t really about Boeing. Understandably, this particular story of corporate malfeasance is just one chapter in a much larger book.

Kennedy and writers Mark Bailey and Keven McAlester are no strangers to the stain of institutionalized corruption. She and Bailey, her husband, worked together on the 2007 Emmy Award winning “Ghosts of Abu Ghraib”; all three were nominated for the 2014 Oscar “Last Days in Vietnam.”

Their choice to focus so closely on a micro-scenario here sometimes makes it difficult for us to detail. But it’s hard to see such a bluntly incriminating report without a macro view of society’s villains and heroes.

Given the film’s mixed conclusions, it’s a relief that there are so many heroes. The first person we met was former Wall Street Journal reporter Andy Pasztor, who wrote several voiceovers about the 2018 Lion Air crash in Indonesia, which killed everyone on board. Although Boeing has tried to blame the pilot, a growing body of evidence points to a flight control system failure on its new 737 MAX jet.

Instead of grounding other planes until the problem is resolved, Boeing insists they are safe to fly. The FAA, as Pasztor wrote, follows the company’s lead. A few months later, another MAX crashed. Again, everyone on board died.

Once these baffling truths are explained, the film aims to live up to its subtitles. To make their case, opened with industrious faith, the filmmakers appealed to a wide range of different accusers. These include pilots like Captain “Sully” Sullenberger, outraged at Boeing’s apparent disregard for its employees and passengers, and politicians like Representative Peter DeFazio, who led the investigation. Congressional investigation into the MAX disaster. There are heartbreaking memorials from grieving family members who were callously ignored by Boeing, as well as deeply disappointing testimonies from employees who blew countless whistles, only to be silenced. silent or disappear from sight.

Indeed, the film is so well researched and the evidence so rich that it simultaneously sheds light on and suggests a much larger issue. In contrast to the film’s impressively large cast of heroes, Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg is appointed both as the main antagonist and as the representative of a corporation that has barely a face.

Muilenburg, who eventually stepped down with a $62 million severance package, certainly seemed a good fit for the role. Even so, no CEO — or a $62 million severance package, for that matter — exists in the void. We see exactly who suffers the consequences of the choices made by Boeing’s leaders. But it takes more than one or two executives to design, disseminate, and sustain a culture.

How do so many employees prioritize profits over everyone else? Is there significant dissent at the top, or is everyone engaged in what DeFazio calls “simple and straightforward” corruption? How complicit were the experts on Wall Street in allowing Boeing to change the story through stock buybacks and dividend increases? Have managers ignored worries about quality control reports out of fear for their own work, or automatic acceptance of top-down standards?

While these complex questions are never fully answered, what we learn is this: Time has stopped for the victims of the MAX crash, while Boeing is simply moving on. continuous, impenetrable, and mechanical like the equipment it manufactures.

The “collapsed” laser beam hits collisions and their consequences with unique consideration. After hearing this a lot about Mobility characteristics Boost system and Transport aircraft risk assessment method, anxious flyers may leave mainly because of their determination to drive to their next destination.

But the bigger picture is always there, visible on both sides of a sharp line between the bloodless detachment of a multinational and the inevitable humanity of individuals. that it affected. And it makes us wonder how many more stories like it are hiding in plain sight, still waiting to be told.

“The Fall: The Case Against Boeing” made its world premiere at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival.

https://www.thewrap.com/downfall-the-case-against-boeing-review-documentary-rory-kennedy-737-max/ Damning Doc paints a portrait of corporate cowardice

Curtis Crabtree

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