The skeptic becomes a believer in The Unknowns, an engrossing look at America’s most confounding UFO sightings.
Assembled and narrated by popular Swedish documentary producer LEMMiNO, the film hangs its narrative on the findings of Project Blue Book, a government-led investigation into UFO sightings that occurred throughout the country during the 1950s. While the majority of these cases were dismissed as mere illusions, there were hundreds of sightings that were ultimately abandoned without plausible explanation. The filmmaker highlights several of these as yet unexplained sightings.
The story begins in 1947. That’s the year that aviator Kenneth Arnold claimed to have witnessed a string of saucer-shaped objects speeding past him in the air space over Washington. His sighting was corroborated by many additional witnesses on the ground. In fact, there were over 800 reported sightings that month alone.
The government might have taken a dismissive public stance to these sightings, but privately they were mystified and distressed. They mounted a large-scale investigation of these incidents to determine their veracity. If they were to authenticate any of these incidents, they wanted to gauge what level of risk they posed to the security of the country.
The investigation was closed in 1969, but questions linger over the incidents they could not fully explain in their final report. The cases explored in the film involve seemingly trustworthy witnesses – many of whom were themselves officials in military, government and law enforcement. These spectators could not be convinced that their sightings were the result of weather anomalies or overactive imaginations.
The film draws upon official documents, stock footage, attractive animations and informed commentary to make its case. It doesn’t seek to find answers; it enjoys luxuriating in the enigmatic nature of each sighting it explores. To the filmmaker’s credit, he doesn’t seem to have an agenda. By the film’s end, he asserts that modern video technology makes it easier than ever to mount a fake (but convincing) sighting. Even so, the early cases profiled in the film are tantalizing and cannot be dismissed so easily.
The Unknowns is sure to appeal to casual conspiracy theorists, UFO hounds and fans of unsolved mysteries.