Nail Bomber: Manhunt – Netflix Documentary Review


A Sobering Look At The Far-Reich

One of the best parts about London is how multiculturally diverse the city actually is. There’s so much to see and do, and the culture of this city has been shaped and changed over the years into a beautiful mosaic of different influences. Unfortunately, not everyone in this country shares that same enthusiasm.

There are pockets of Britain consumed by a rage. A xenophobic, nasty anger that’s been distorted and woven into far-right movements. The media is as much to blame as these individuals themselves, with The Daily Mail and The Sun newspapers ion particular printing fear-mongering bile for years.

Whether it be the horrors of the EU, how immigrants are “flooding into Britain” and “taking jobs” or even BLM being terrorists, these narratives continue to spin and distort the truth. The reality of course, is far from this fiction but it’s enough to keep the distorted narrative flowing – and extremist individuals indoctrinated to this world-view.

It was perhaps always inevitable that someone would take things to a new level. Nail Bomber: Manhunt is a documentary film showing just that, showcasing the dangers of far-right extremism, told through eye-witness accounts and chilling CCTV footage surrounding three bombing that rocked London to its core in 1999.

For those unaware, over the course of three successive weekends (17-30th April respectively), homemade nail bombs were detonated in Brixton, Spitalfields and The Admiral Duncan pub in Soho. These were deliberate attacks; an attempt to spark up a racially fueled war that would (at least according to the bomber anyway) go on to start a nation-wide civil war.

The London nail-bomber himself is 22-year-old David Copeland, who to this day proudly declares that he’s a Nazi and hates gays. This xenophobia was unfortunately nurtured through his time with the BNP (British National Party) a mean-spirited political party with undercurrents of racial tension.

This 70 minute film follows David Copeland’s three attacks, what drove him to commit these appalling acts and his attitude along the way. Tapes of Copeland’s interviews are shared, along with interviews with undercover spy Arthur who spent 10 years posing as part of this group. This 10 year effort helped find and stop Copeland from killing more people.

Alongside these two main focal points are a slew of other eye-witness accounts, from survivors and police officers through to family members of the fallen. If there’s one thing that we’ve learned over the years though is that terrorism can cripple communities but also bring them closer together.

This much is especially true here, as Nail Bomber shows the resiliency of these brave souls who survived these attacks and were able to see Copeland brought to justice.

There is, however, a much wider narrative surrounding far-right extremism that’s as much prevalent today as it’s ever been. I won’t get all political but suffice to say all you need to do is look at the reaction to Jodie Turner-Smith being cast as Anne Boleyn to see these archaic attitudes are still prevalent in society.

Nail Bomber: Manhunt is a sobering look at how far these hate crimes can go and a reminder that far-right extremists are a very real threat. While the documentary doesn’t hold the media to account as much as it perhaps should, this is a minor point in what’s otherwise a gripping and hard-hitting film. Once again Netflix knocks it out the park with its true-crime efforts.

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  • Verdict - 8/10

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