How Errol Morris Vindicated My Father, Wilfred Burchett

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Still from “Wormwood.”

We see a wall with murky brown floral wallpaper and a door with a peephole and the number 1018A. A man is talking on the phone. He says: “See you tomorrow. I love you, Alice.” The camera pans out and reveals another man, sitting on the twin bed next to the first man. He’s smoking a cigarette and watching a boxing match on an old black and white TV set. The first man gets up and turns off the TV. He returns to his bed and starts reading a passage from the Holy Bible he’s holding:

“And the Third Angel sounded; and there fell a great star from Heaven, burning as if it were a lamp; and it fell upon the third part of the rivers and upon the fountains of waters; and the name of the star is called Wormwood; and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.”

Someone tries to open the hotel room door. The first man goes to the door and looks through the peephole. He goes out into the corridor. There’s no one. He returns to the room.

A window shatters. The first man bursts through it head first and begins falling in slow motion, while Perry Como sings “No other love have I, only my love for you” and the opening credits roll.

Thus we are sucked into Wormwood, Errol Morris’s mesmerising new six part docu-drama.

1953 appears on the screen and a voice asks “What were you told at the time of your father’s death?”

A blue-eyed elderly man answers: “I was told that ‘Your…

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