Cast: Eric Olson, Peter Sarsgaard (Blue Jasmine, The Killing), Christian Camargo (Penny Dreadful, Dexter), Scott Shepherd (The Pope, Bridge of Spies)
Director: Errol Morris (The B-Side: Elsa Dorfman's Portrait Photography)
Screenwriter: JKieran Fitzgerald (Snowden, Sherlock Holmes 3), Steven Hathaway (The B-Side: Elsa Dorfman's Portrait Photography), Molly Rokosz (Op-Docs)
1953 a man plummets to the ground from a 13th floor hotel window, in New York. The family were told that army scientist, Frank Olson “had had an accident, he fell, or could have jumped out the window, and he’d died.” Was this really a tragic suicide? Or had Olsen become a Counter Intelligence Agency (CIA) liability?
As a biological warfare scientist, Dr Olson’s work was classified. What was expected of him, and what he witnessed on a daily basis, was a moral burden, and something he no longer could be a part of. He wanted out.
Knowledge is a weapon in itself, and Olsen knew far too much, and as such made him a liability to the CIA.
Under the codename MK ULTRA, experiments using LSD drug testing was a foot. These tests were used to identify, if under the influence of hallucinogens, a person would freely talk, and more importantly unwittingly divulge top secret information.
Having been the experimenter, the tables would turn, and it would be Olson himself who would become the experimented on.
Eric Olson was nine years old when his father died. He likens his torment to that of Hamlet, unable to seek solace until his father’s story is publicly vindicated. It has taken over 60 years.
The name Frank Olsen had first come to my attention whilst reading Jon Ronson’s book The Men Who Stare At Goats. So I had known that LSD had been used as some kind of truth serum, so therefore I found this documentary of particular interest.
Wormwood is a stunningly crafted documentary. Its appropriate use of collaged imagery, soundtrack and performances lead by Peter Sarsgaard are outstanding.
I hope that this documentary is seen by a wide audience, so that a son can finally live in peace.
Words: Claire Bueno
|Runtime: : 48 minutes, 6 episodess||Year: 2017||Genre: Documentary, Biography, Crime||Streaming Service: Netflix UK, Netflix US|