Writer/Director: Alex Gibney
Running time: 106 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15
UK Release date: 15th February 2013
Watched on Terrestrial PVR Sunday 4th August 2013.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE UNINTENTIONAL SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
As someone who is not religious you would have thought a documentary about the Catholic Church would have little appeal for a man like me. You couldn’t be further from the truth, I actively research all religions because I believe the better informed you are about the world, the better you can understand it. But enough about me, we are here to talk about the film.
The film is about child abuse carried out by Catholic Priests and how it was covered up by the Catholic Church. A subject, I’m sure, many of you will have read about of seen in the news over the past few years. The main focus is on a School for the deaf, St John’s in Milwaukee, and the actions of a particular Priest, Lawrence Murphy (now deceased). Several of his students talk about the abuse they suffered at his hand and the filmmakers set out to explore how the affair was dealt with by the Church authorities. The abuse took place between the early 1950’s and the early ‘70’s and it has taken until now for it to be acknowledged. Not least due to the efforts of several of the students who never gave up trying to be heard. The filmmakers widen the scope and look at how this kind of thing has been going on, not just in North America, but all over the world and for a very long time. They even reveal just how high up the cover-up went.
If Dan Brown had written a novel about a cover-up in the Catholic Church on the scale depicted in this film, it would be treated as a great work of fiction. The trouble is, it’s all true and that’s the most shocking thing about it. It is a very well made film that has a compelling flow to the narrative and this is helped with some nicely chosen musical backdrops. The only thing that lets it down is a lack of balance, but then, as it says in the film, the Vatican refused to be interviewed for this film. Not that they could have put up any defence. I found it a gripping watch that did get a little emotional at times. Well worth a look whatever religion (or not) you are.
SteelMonster’s verdict: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
My score: 8.8/10.
IMDb Score: 7.6/10 (based on 931 votes when this review was written).
MetaScore: 73/100: (Based on 16 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 92/100 (based on 1,508 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
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