Review: Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills (1996)

SYNOPSIS: A horrific triple child murder leads to an indictment and trial of three nonconformist boys based on questionable evidence. – via IMDB

Alright, so something that I don’t talk about much is the documentaries I watch. Every now and then I am struck by this need and just burn through documentaries like there is no tomorrow and I love them. I love them, but rarely never write about them. I don’t know, it’s pretty hard to write about documentaries. They are the type of things you watch and discuss with people around you, that you go back and forth on. It’s pretty intense.

This is one that I absolutely loved. I really liked the way the documentary was not narrated by a single person. We get snippets of the case, the news, interviews with the accused, their families, the cops, the victims’ families, all of it, and we are left to pretty much form our own opinions on the matter. I really thought this made the documentary a more unique experience. We were essentially elected the jury, to judge these boys accused of a horrendous crime, and we were all left to draw our own conclusions.

And let me tell you, it seems that the conclusions on this case are incredibly divisive. People believe vehemently that these three young guys murdered those boys and should burn in hell, others believe that they were wrongfully convicted. So much raging debate going on about it. I remember coming across this story all those years ago and watching this and being taken in by how bizarre this story was, and is.

Watching this, you get enough information on the case and to watch some of the court proceedings, but I am super grateful to have read Mara Leveritt’s book – all the questions I had before were answered, and it paints a far more complete picture. This documentary shows you two sides, and I liked it for a change not getting the answer, but being allowed to make up my mind.

Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills is a seriously good piece of work. It is mesmerising and engaging, put together exceptionally well and it is raw, tough and intense. Metallica’s accompanying soundtrack fits like a glove, and I appreciated the clips being used in here showing you the more positive and negative of all sides involved, so nothing ever really felt glorified. I highly recommend this, whether you know the story or not. It’s a fantastic documentary that will keep you hooked from that extremely graphic and heartbreaking opening.

Review: Abducted in Plain Sight (2017)

SYNOPSIS: The twisting, turning, stranger-than-fiction true story of the Brobergs, a naive, church-going Idaho family that fell under the spell of a sociopathic neighbor with designs on their twelve-year-old daughter. – via IMDB

WTF?? No, really, wtf????? I cannot write a legitimate review. I just have questions. Questions like who the fuck:

  • Lets some manky dude sleep in the bed with their daughter for months?
  • Gave the kids back to these obviously negligent parents?
  • Starts banging the man that abducted their 12 year old (whom the abductor then marries and refuses to return her back home)?
  • Lets a man get away with this to harm their own daughter more and other girls because of wanking someone off?
  • Returns an abducted child to the man who abducted her in the first place?
  • Takes forever and six days to report their daughter missing?

So after all of this, all I can say that while this is not a great documentary, it is one of the most insane you will ever see. I have so many issues with what I have watched, and have no way to review this other than WHAT THE FUCK?! So much crap going on everywhere. This is no Bundy tapes, or Paradise Lost or anything like that. But it is a crazy viewing experience. My husband thought I was watching one thing, and then when it got to the bit on Berchtold manipulating Jan with aliens, he thought it was another show completely and that I was indulging my inner Fox Mulder. Har har.

And I know it’s bad, but there is also the legitimacy issue. As in, the only people in this whole documentary are the family, and one stray FBI agent. No reporters. No cops. No psychologists, teachers, friends, agents, anything. So no, that doesn’t lend much to truth in my mind. I’m not saying it didn’t happen (obviously shit went down), I’m just saying it’s a bit sketchy. Maybe I am just fussy? Need more critical examination? Don’t know. It was just… too bizarre.


Rapid Review: Codebreaker (2011)

codebreaker poster

“I think if you find a person like that – and I don’t think everybody does find one – in fact I think it’s terribly rare, then all you thought before, all your plans for yourself, you realize they were just filling a gap, they were just something for you to do while you were waiting for this person.”
– Alan Turing

SYNOPSIS: The highs and lows of Alan Turing’s life, tracking his extraordinary accomplishments, his government persecution through to his tragic death in 1954. In the last 18 months of his short life, Turing visited a psychiatrist, Dr. Franz Greenbaum, who tried to help him. Each therapy session in this drama documentary is based on real events. The conversations between Turing and Greenbaum explore the pivotal moments in his controversial life and examine the pressures that may have contributed to his early death. The film also includes the testimony of people who actually knew and remember Turing. Plus, this film features interviews with contemporary experts from the world of technology and high science including Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. These contributors bring Turing’s exciting impact up to the present day, explaining why, in many ways, modern technology has only just begun to explore the potential of Turing’s ideas. – via IMDB


GRADE 7.5Okay, I need to say something that has been said plenty of times, right off the bat, before I can discuss the documentary further. The British government ought to be ashamed of themselves for what they put Alan Turning through, and it is disgusting that it took them so many decades to apologise to him, you know, because it is never too later for saying sorry for robbing someone of their life, and robbing the world of his brilliance. Turing was a fascinating man who made immeasurable contributions to the technology that we know today and take for granted most times, and it is criminal that, after all that he did, he was treated like a leper. The fact that people react so strongly to homosexuality, to this day, is completely beyond me. Granted, the States just moved over to allowing same sex marriages, but the winning margin was so thin, and as many people that are joyous about it, in this day an age, there is still a bitter lot. Moving on from that aspect of it, Codebreaker was a really good documentary. Granted, it didn’t focus too much on the Enigma code or any of that, and didn’t look at too much of Turing’s work too in depth, but it told you more about it, constantly referencing how Turing’s work has influenced the day and age we are in now, and how it was shaped by his ideas, and driving home his contributions. It also focused a lot on Turing’s sexuality, which was ultimately a huge reason that Turing decided to end his life, and a large cause of where his normal life started to derail. I know that a lot of emphasis was placed on his homosexuality, but it has a profound effect on the outcome of his life and hence could not be overlooked for any reason. Codebreaker filled in more of the blanks, the parts I complained about in The Imitation Game, where things happened, events jumped around, it didn’t flow smoothly, where this dramatized documentary showed more of the order of events and occurrences. I think that Ed Stoppard and Henry Goodman were excellent and did wonders for the dramatization and deserve credit for it. If anyone would like a more detailed look at the man that Turing was, this is a great watch, and for anyone that wants a quick rundown of Turing, who has no previous knowledge, this is a really good way to get up to speed.