Anthrax Attacks Review: Inquiry into the Inquiry

Since there is nothing else in the world to fear right now, Netflix and the BBC take us back some 20 years to a crime that also seemed cruel and unusual in its timing: the anthrax attacks that followed the events of September 11. in a week, left five people dead, more than a dozen sick and led to a nearly seven-year investigation by the FBI. It’s a fast-paced thriller, though the answers to its central mystery are either memorable or Google-friendly, but the reasons why may amount to spoilers. So reader beware.

Realized by Dan Kraus With an undertone of outrage, “The Anthrax Attacks” takes a quasi-documentary approach to the attacks, which targeted news outlets in New York and members of Congress in Washington. Clark Gregg (of Marvel fame) plays Bruce Ivins, the microbiologist and vaccinologist who became central in the case. (His dialogue, we’re told, is based on FBI field notes and emails from Ivins.) The roughly 90-minute film‘s hybrid quality makes it more emotionally engaging than it could have been. to be if Mr. Krauss had moved closer to traditional documentary devices, although he also uses them to great effect. Among those interviewed around and between the dramatized footage are former agents, relatives of victims, Washington postal workers exposed to anthrax sent to members of Congress, and scientists such as Paul Keima pathologist and expert in genome analysis who aided in the investigation and – to his still-evident chagrin – was briefly considered a suspect by the FBI.


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