Sundance Review: Iron Butterflies

As we approach the first anniversary of the full Russian invasion of Ukraine, it’s easy to forget that this war didn’t start in 2022. Indeed, the (recent) troubles with Russia can be traced back to the Maiden in 2013, which preceded Putin’s annexation of Crimea the following year. It was in the same year that one of the biggest human tragedies of the conflict took place.

On 17 July 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down over Eastern Ukraine. This was during the war in the Donbas and the international community was quick to place blame at the Russian-backed separatist forces. Despite protestations of innocence from the Kremlin, all the evidence pointed in their direction and to the Buk air defence missile system. Iron Butterflies investigates.

Named after the butterfly shapes left by shrapnel in the bodies of the flight crew, Iron Butterflies interrogates the evidence from all angles. While Roman Liubyi’s documentary doesn’t really bring anything new to the table, is does approach its subject matter in a methodical and rounded way. Producing a film which is simultaneously comprehensive, informative and absorbing.

Iron Butterflies screens at Sundance.

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