Hot Docs 2017: Out of Thin Air

The most famous murder case in Iceland is revisited in Out of Thin Air. In early 1974, Gudmundur Einarsson and Geirfinnur Einarsson disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Two years later, six suspects confessed to the murders of the men and served prison sentences for the crime. However, it soon comes to light that the suspects might have been suffering from Memory Distrust Syndrome and that their confessions were completely concocted.

It is mentioned early on in Dylan Howitt’s truecrime documentary Out of Thin Air that memory is a fickle thing. The film uses interviews with surviving suspect Erla Bolladóttir to reenact the supposedly took place in the early 1970s, supposedly masterminded by Erla’s then-lover Sævar Ciesielski, who would end up serving the longest sentence of the six. However, as times went on and details changed, it began to be suspected that the confessions might have been fabricated.

The title of Out of Thin Air has a bit of a double meaning, since it references both the possibly fabricated confessions and the fact that the bodies of the missing men have never been found. The reenactments in the film are somewhat similar to those in Errol Morris’ The Thin Blue Line, especially in how they change along with the stories. While not the best true crime documentary in the world, the story of Out of Thin Air was at least interesting enough to hold my attention.

7 / 10 stars


Sean Kelly Author

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).