While the bulk of “The Anthrax Attacks” makes use of contemporaneous news footage and the standard talking-head interviews that have become so ubiquitous with the genre, Krauss also decides to stage some elaborate, cinematic re-enactments featuring Clark Gregg as Bruce Ivins. And Gregg is perfectly fine in the role, bringing just the right amount of suspicion to the part. But this device is distracting and altogether needless.
Worse, the doc never really goes into Ivins’ psychology. If he did it, why did he do it? I understand that there are no easy answers — Ivins never confessed, therefore we don’t really know his motivations. But some sort of insight into who he was and what drove him would’ve been helpful. Instead, he remains a mystery. Again: that’s part of the point. Questions about this will remain unanswered.
But “The Anthrax Attacks” can’t shake the feeling that it’s missing something. Despite this issue, the doc does a solid job of capturing the general mood and terror that accompanied the attacks, and the loss of life left in the wake. I just wish the film had nixed the celebrity guest star angle and had enough confidence to tell the story on its own.
“The Anthrax Attacks” premieres September 8, 2022 on Netflix.