Thursday, September 23, 2010

Movie Review - Deliver Us From Evil

I recently watched the documentary 'Deliver Us From Evil'. Information about the movie can be found here and here, but it tells the story of both Oliver O'Grady, a Catholic priest convicted for molesting children, and several of his victims. What first drew my attention to this movie was the fact that O'Grady is actually featured in the movie, giving his own memories, thoughts and feelings on his crimes. To sum up my overall thoughts, I consider this to be one of the most powerful documentary I have seen. Others seem to agree, as it has won several awards, though it narrowly missed out on the Oscar for Best Documentary, losing to An Inconvenient Truth. While I did enjoy Gore's movie, I don't think it is anywhere near as good as Deliver Us From Evil. But I digress; on with the review.

NOTE: If you have not seen the film, I would recommend you stop reading now and go watch it. My review will spoil some of the aspects that, in my opinion, make it so hard-hitting.

Rather than detail the content of the film (as you should all have gone and seen it before reading this section), I want to touch on what I thought was the aspect that gave it that extra something.

For me, it was the editing that made it magnificent. Throughout the first half of the movie, while not ever denying that he committed the crimes that he did, the movie does take a 'soft' approach to it; the words used to describe his actions are along the lines of 'touch', 'rub' and 'play with'. Not only that, O'Grady often expresses how shameful he felt after each act and how he swore to himself he would never do it again. These two aspects combine to make you a feel almost sympathetic towards him; rather than portraying him as a predatory monster, he is at first painted as a flawed, sick human being.

This portrait is shattered midway through the movie however. The language used in describing his acts dramatically changes, detailing how brutal they actually were. O'Grady even seems to become less ashamed of what he has done. And that is what I thought made it so powerful; the movie tricks you into feeling sympathy for him, then WHAM!, he is revealed for the monster he is really is. This made me feel terribly bad. How could I have ever been sympathetic to such a horrible human? It made me feel bad enough that I was crying significantly when Bob Jyono broke down. Then it dawned on me; that must be similar to what his victim's families felt. They let what they thought was a nice priest into their lives, only to have him molest and rape their children.

So that is my take of the movie. If you agree or disagree with my interpretation, let me know.
UPDATE: It seems O'Grady is in trouble again.