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Waco: American Apocalypse review – gunfights, dying FBI agents … and zero analysis

This three-part Netflix documentary tells the tale of the infamous 51-day siege pitting the FBI against a self-proclaimed messiah. Sadly, it settles for spectacle over insight If it’s Tuesday, as the saying almost goes, it must be another Netflix true crime documentary. And if it’s a Tuesday coming up to the 30th anniversary of the most infamous massacre on US soil in modern times, it must be the three-part series Waco: American Apocalypse. Much of it plays like an edited highlights reel. The 51-day siege between the FBI and the Branch Davidian religious sect, led by self-proclaimed messiah David Koresh at the Mount Carmel compound just outside Waco in 1993, was recorded by the local news crew from the moment law enforcement started to gather to the moment the last embers cooled after the final conflagration nearly two months later. Texas-raised director Tiller Russell had masses of contemporary footage to choose from so we get to relive all the “best” bits. The opening gunfight, dead and dying agents filmed on rooftops, the injured being loaded on to the bonnets of vehicles and driven urgently away with their comrades holding on to them, voice recordings of the wounded asking to be rescued, the self-made videos of Koresh after being wounded himself and showing the bullet holes in his side to the waiting world. Tweny-four-hour cable news was then in its infancy and this was its baptism of fire. Perhaps the irony would have appealed to Koresh. Continue reading...

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