Old 09-03-2011, 10:58 PM
Capturing the Friedmans

Capturing the Friedmans - 10/10

This was my first time watching this doc. It more or less made me want to vomit. The ambiguity of it all is really draining. You have so many people on both sides telling so many different stories, giving so many strong arguments, that it becomes very difficult to pick a side. You more or less know up front that the father is up to no good, but the son (as strange as his actions are throughout the film and especially before he gets locked up) is a question mark. You see him get out at the end and when he's hugging the mom it completely fucks with your emotions. Should you feel happy that a potentially wrongly convicted guy is out of jail or should you feel angry because he potentially was correctly convicted of sodomizing several children. The severity of what happened is just never very clear. The only vivid victim description we get is from the one kid who was hypnotized and could have potentially had a false memory planted in his mind. Then you have the father of one of the victims who claims that when his son was interviewed the investigator pretty much forced him to say what the investigator wanted to hear. And while the father (and possibly son) may have threatened the kids, which may have prevented them from telling anyone, don't you think there would have been some sort of sign that this had taken place? Wouldn't the wife have heard this going on at some point? When parents showed up randomly to pick up the kids, wouldn't one of them have walked in at some point over the course of several years and sensed something was wrong? I'm more on the side that they did commit these acts, but it's way too ambiguous to know the degree of what they did. This film also kind of ties in with the themes of Paradise Lost. They both deal with facades and how you can't allow that to influence how you feel about a case. Fascinating doc that raises a ton of questions and makes me go on an incoherent rant.

For those who have seen it, what did you think? For those who haven't seen it, go watch it now!

Last edited by Bourne101; 09-03-2011 at 11:17 PM..
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Old 09-04-2011, 12:35 AM
This documetary really shook me.

Things are never as black and white as you'd like them to be and that's what makes this documentary so fascinating. For a while you'd think you would have certain people figured out, but things would happen in the movie that would make you less certain and that continues long after the movie is over.
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Old 09-04-2011, 09:33 AM
I saw this with a group of college kids back in 2003, and I was completely unimpressed.
I like the idea that you can't be sure of what's going on. However, I felt that these people were the worst example of "ambiguity" with justice, the legal system and reliable witnesses.
I hated this movie with such a strong resentment - not because of the subject matter, but because of it's effort to impress in all the wrong ways - that I walked out. I guess I had about 15 minutes to go, but it I don't care. I wish I never wasted one second of my time on this drivel.

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Old 09-04-2011, 04:35 PM
Yep saw this a couple of years back and it has really stuck in my mind as if I saw it yesterday.

I felt so emotionally drained after watching it.
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Old 09-04-2011, 05:00 PM
Bourne, your post inspired me to spontaneously throw this on last night. Felt very much the same way you did, it really left me a bit of a conflicted mess. I've tried reading a bit more about the case but what I've read has only made me flipflop back and forth even more.

What is less ambiguous is the documentary's strong pull in the way we watch a family disintegrate. It's mesmerizing and heartbreaking and horrible to watch all at the same time.
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Old 09-04-2011, 06:51 PM
Originally Posted by JCPhoenix View Post
Bourne, your post inspired me to spontaneously throw this on last night. Felt very much the same way you did, it really left me a bit of a conflicted mess. I've tried reading a bit more about the case but what I've read has only made me flipflop back and forth even more.
Yeah, I have been reading up on it as well, but like you, it just made it more ambiguous for me. While reading up on it I read up on a case about a preschool where a bunch of kids were supposedly sexually abused. Investigators got a ton of kids to confess that these acts occurred, but some of them ended up going on tangents and coming up with wild stories that aren't physically possible. There was one kid if I remember correctly who claimed that the kids were flushed down toilets to secret chambers where they were then sexually abused. It's a different case, but you can see how it could happen that a kid might run away with his or her imagination once an idea was planted in their head. I'm not saying that is what happened here, I'm just saying that it may have been blown out of proportion due to the hysteria of the parents of the children involved.
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Old 09-04-2011, 07:48 PM
What I really loved about this film was how objective it was. It really just let the footage speak for itself without trying to sway audience opinions with sneaky editing techniques. Even some of my favourite documentaries - Jesus Camp, Deliver Us from Evil - are guilty of that. What resulted with the straightforward approach to Friedmans was an extremely powerful, thought-provoking and emotional documentary. Definitely a high, high 9/10 from me, nearly a 10.
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Old 09-04-2011, 10:55 PM
Haunting documentary. Even after a few years I can't get the home videos capturing a family breaking apart at the seams out of my head.
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