Cold Case Hammarskjold

Sep 3, 2019

This doc will challenge you and intrigue you. Although sometimes confusing, it never bores.

Cold Case Hammarskjold

Grade: B

Director: Mads Brugger

Screenplay: Brugger

Cast: Brugger, Goran Bjorkdahl, Dag Hammarskjold

Rating: NR

Runtime: 2 hr 8 min

By: John DeSando

“I believe that we should die with decency so that at least decency will survive.” Dag Hammarskjold

In 1961 the secretary general of the United Nations, Dag Hammarskjold, died in a plane crash on his way to negotiate peace for a nation torn apart by apartheid. Director Mads Brugger and co-investigator Goran Bjorkdahl in Cold Case Hammarskjold craft a fascinating documentary about that crazy world in which not only does he seem to prove a plot to kill Hammarskjold, he also suggests a military group, SAIMR, is responsible for spread of HIV as a way of eradicating blacks in Africa.

“Only the subject remains noble with this gallery of suspects: It is playing safe that we create a world of utmost insecurity.” Dag Hammarskjold

This undeniably interesting doc seems to suggest rightly some of the blame for the death, but the virus motif was as recently as July debunked in part by the New York Times. At least the Times has scientifically cast doubt on any group’s ability to spread clinically the virus in a whole population.

As Brugger deftly transitions from the plane disaster to the virus, more bad actors appear, and the Hammarskjold murder takes a back seat, albeit the death can be seen as a strategy to take out a major player in the anti-apartheid movement. Although the motives and characters seem to multiply dazzlingly, Brugger knows how to spin the facts into engaging drama.

See this challenging doc to bone up on your African history and gain some insight into how organizations like the CIA and SAIMR operate and get away with murder. Although Angel Has Fallen beats Cold Case cold in the box office races, it can’t get close to beating a doc that keeps you guessing and sometimes really leaves you cold.

“Life only demands from you the strength that you possess. Only one feat is possible; not to run away.” Dag Hammarskjold

John DeSando, a Los Angeles Press Club first-place winner for National Entertainment Journalism, hosts WCBE’s It’s Movie Time and co-hosts Cinema Classics. Contact him at