The Mystery of D.B. Cooper is an HBO documentary that examines one of the most fascinating cases in American history. In 1971, a man who came to be known as D.B. Cooper hijacked a plane in the Pacific Northwest. He demanded $200,000 and four parachutes. Eventually, he jumped out of the plane when it was 10,000 feet in the air. He was never seen again and the brazen act remains the only unresolved airline hijacking in American History.
The idea of a person casually walking onto a plane and commandeering it is a ridiculous notion in today’s world. D.B. Cooper does a great job of putting viewers in the time period. Interviews with people involved with the hijacking, explain just how easy it was to hijack a plane in the early 1970s. This serves to make an already intriguing story even more engaging.
D.B. Cooper is a multilayered story told in an interesting way. It is not just about the mystery itself. The film also delves into possible solutions as to what happened. This is not done in a straightforward way, however. Instead, the tales of the suspects are interwoven into the retelling of the hijacking. The documentary seamlessly moves between its various subjects, painting a bigger picture of the mystery.
The stories of the suspects are the most interesting part of the documentary. D.B. Cooper presents various plausible stories of people who may have been Cooper. There are also interviews with an author who believes the FBI botched the initial investigation and an amateur detective who feels the hunt should be for the parachutes instead of a body.
All these differing takes are offered up for the audience to digest. Often, documentaries will take an interesting premise and stretch it beyond credibility. That is not the case in D.B. Cooper. None of the stories ever risk becoming boring as the narratives bounce off each other. Each story gets more interesting as the stories involve mysterious marriages, odd siblings, and even the first sex change in the history of the state of Washington.
The Mystery of D.B. Cooper is a captivating documentary that tries to shed new light on an absorbing legend. Instead of telling a straight recounting of the hijacking or potential suspects, director John Dower tells a twisting story. It seems like it may be confusing – or even worse, silly – but instead, it draws the audience in more with each passing second.
The Mystery of D.B. Cooper premieres on HBO on November 25th.
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