Capturing the Friedmans ★★★½

Ghuznee Film Society Review: Capturing the Friedmans

d. Andrew Jarecki

Starring: Arnold and Jesse Friedman

One of the most seethingly affecting documentaries I’ve come across, but what should you expect from the subject matter: This film examines the divergent notions of the truth behind one of the US’s most notorious and horrifying serial sex crimes, perpetrated by a father-son team under the guise of computer lessons.

I was initially under the impression that this was a well made and even-handed film, but further research revealed that the convicted son, Jesse was involved in the production to a large extent, and it’s obvious that the ulterior motive of the piece was to undermine the evidence against him and to throw into question his guilt. I saw some footage of his confessions in court that had been left off the DVD. These would have ultimately served to condemn him even more comprehensively, and it’s telling that this footage appears nowhere on the disc.

Still, as a study into disturbed criminal actions and as further proof that middle class white America isn’t exempt from the seediness of the worst aspects of humanity, the film succeeds wildly. Fellow reviewer Roland Brown likened the viewing to ‘having Satan crawl up your ass and lodge there’.

Do not watch this at 5 in the morning on a cocktail of alcohol, Ritalin, MDMA, Ketamine and Morphine. I imagine that’d lead to a less than comfortable situation for your soul. Cough cough.