Cyrus (Photo: Netflix)
On April 19, 1995, the largest internal terrorist incident in the history of the United States was recorded.
A truck bomb packed with explosives exploded near a building housing federal institutions in Oklahoma City.
168 people perished, including 19 children and toddlers.
The date chosen by the attacker, a far-right man named Timothy McVeigh, was no accident.
For him, it was revenge for another horrific event that occurred exactly two years before, on the same day, about 400 km away - the fire at the Mount Carmel mansion where David Koresh and his followers lived in Waco, Texas. The siege in Waco, which lasted 51 days, claimed the lives
of More than 80 people, including 76 Cult of David supporters barricaded in the building at the time of the fire, along with four federal agents died during the early days of fighting.This is one of the defining events in American history and one of the milestones in the ongoing debate over the right to bear arms.
The story begins on February 28, 1993, when ATF agents - the Alcohol, Tobacco, Weapons and Explosives Enforcement Authority - arrived at the Mount Carmel estate.
They had an arrest warrant to investigate the illegal collection of many weapons and their automatic conversion, but the Davidians had been tipped off ahead of time about the visit and were prepared.
Here things started to get out of control, and on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the disaster, "Waco: American Apocalypse" (Waco: American Apocalypse), a three-part docu dealing with the drama, analyzing it, interviewing those involved in it and above all bringing pictures from the field, some of which have never been seen, appeared on Netflix.
Director Tyler Russell, who grew up not far from Mount Carmel, had large amounts of material at his disposal.
Visuality is one of the main conditions for the success of any doku, the question is what you do with it.
Russell knew how to make good use of any material at his disposal.
With simple but effective directing techniques, he combined the interviews of those involved who survived the event with their footage from real time.
In doing so, he bridged the 30-year gap between the characters, a tool that is not always well utilized, also due to the lack of materials.
Contrary to the rules of an action movie, even one of real life, the essential action in the mansion is seen in the violent shootout in the first days of the conflict and in the fire that ended it more than a month and a half later.
Thus, Russell had a difficult challenge in "Wayko" - how, after such a powerful opening, to "fill" the space in the middle and also present the less sexy events, such as the exhausting negotiations between Cyrus and the mediators and the long waiting days of the forces against the stubborn besiegers. He met this challenge with honor, as he manages to build drama, return to the past of Cyrus and his takeover of the cult, and present the ups and downs in the mood of the lawmen, who saw several times how the affair was going to end in a less violent solution, only to be proven wrong and experience a huge disappointment.
The question of the position was also a problematic minefield for the director.
Cyrus is classified as a devil on earth, and there are quite a few justified reasons for this - he was a messianic and violent man, who had sex with minors (in the 1980s he married a 14-year-old girl) and founded a temple of believers who rebelled against him, while demonstrating the extent of a person's influence dangerous like him.
At the same time, it is difficult to take away from him the infinite charisma with which his crimes were committed, and which the film highlights precisely through his conversations with the mediators during the incident.
The attempt to balance in documentaries is not always successful nor is it always true as could be seen in "Megla Taf: The Story of Furnhab", another recent Netflix docu.
In the case of "Vaiko" many mistakes were made.
Thus, for example, to this day no one knows who opened fire first, the ATF or the Davidians.
Also regarding other events there are still open issues.
The director made no concessions to any party.
All of them made valuable mistakes that led to a particularly tragic ending, and these concepts, which cost human lives, are well immortalized in the series.
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30 years have passed since the event in Waiko.
Wounded as it was, this conflict, the largest intra-American battle since the Civil War, is somewhat forgotten in light of the violent sagas, larger and smaller, that followed, including Rodney King, the Oklahoma City bombing, the Columbine massacre, 9/11 and George Floyd. .
However, many questions from the Waiko apocalypse, chief among them the issue of gun ownership that crosses the nation and will continue to divide it until the end of time, remain unresolved.
In "Waiko: American Apocalypse" Russell not only re-floods the affair and brings it back to consciousness, he does it effectively, well weaves the mosaic of events and through rare interviews and photos that are not easy to digest, presents an important document, fascinating and in a twisted way also enjoyable.