‘Downfall’ successfully informs public of dangers of airplane manufacturer

Oliver Wilson, Reporter

A Lion airlines 747 Boeing Max flying. The 747 Max was the highly controversial plane in question that started the investigation into the Boeing company. (Netflix)

A scene in the documentary “Downfall: The Case Against Boeing” depicts a chaotic moment: a 737 Max plane is heading straight toward the ground, and desperate pilots are trying to save the passengers. Over the course of just a few months, two crashes with the same type of plane would start an investigation into the manufacturer.

“Downfall: The Case Against Boeing,” which debuted on Netflix on Feb. 18, documents the scandal involving Boeing and the risk the company posed to the public, and it manages to not only capture emotion but also is very informative.

“Downfall” starts with a demonstration of public trust upon Boeing throughout the 20th century, a big part of the problem, evidenced by the popular quote, “If it ain’t Boeing I ain’t going.” This documentary follows the story of Boeing’s success in the 20th century, as the corporation was known for its extraordinary safety and flight innovation that came out of its doors. After a company merge with a flight rival, McDonnell Douglas, Boeing began to shift their focus from safety and prioritization of their workers to only caring about profit, relying on cheap materials and putting less emphasis on the safety of employers and passengers. In the 1960s the Boeing 737 was released and quickly became very popular, revolutionizing flying and spurring cheap prices for flights. 

When the 737 Max airplane was announced in 2013, many admired it and were excited for it to become public. Under price restrictions and low prioritization of safety, the 737 Max was undoubtedly suspicious. On Oct. 29, 2018, a 737 crashed; another crash followed on March 10, 2019. These incidents opened an investigation on Boeing. The story of Boeing and it’s downfall is told by some investigative journalists, such as Andy Pastor with the Wall Street Journal, and family of the victims involved, making the investigative story be told by the experiences.

The plot of “Downfall” is successful, rightfully focusing on emotion and tragedy of those hurt by the corporation as well as details and incorporates simulation to give the viewer more effective imagery. The documentary is very moving and presents the viewer with footage from families visiting the crashes and video from the Congressional hearing. The ending is also satisfactory, giving the viewer an adequate idea of the aftermath and conclusion of the investigation.

The plot of the story with the Boeing company was detailed, but a little bit too long and it felt as if it was dragging on, although it manages to hold suspense surprisingly high for a documentary, and was masterfully produced through . 

The Boeing downfall story is successful as a documentary plot and succeeds on all levels: cinematography, the use of evidence and investigative work and sources, and viewers should be encouraged to watch  “Downfall” for its informative material and as an overall good production.