Weekend Binge: Netflix’s The Keepers, these 5 films suggest real monsters walk among us
Netflix’s new documentary series, The Keepers, has put the spotlight, once again, on the Catholic church’s alleged cover up of sex abuse scandals. Here are 5 movies that suggest real monsters walk among us.Updated: Sep 01, 2017 13:10 IST
Every week, we will curate a collection of titles - movies, TV, general miscellanea - for you to watch (and in some cases, read, or listen to), in a series we call Weekend Recommendations. The selection will be based on a theme which binds the picks - which could be extremely blunt in certain instances, or confusingly abstract in some. No rules apply, other than the end goal being getting some great entertainment to watch.
While the idea is to base the theme on the week’s major events - it could be the release of a new movie, or show - we could also use this opportunity to comment on our world in general, and turn to art to wrap our heads around some of the more difficult stories of the past seven days.
Netflix’s new documentary series, The Keepers, has reinforced a sad truth. It can’t quite be described as entertainment, nor can it be called a ‘true crime’ series, which is how most people are describing it. Like their previous breakout hit, Making a Murderer, The Keepers is about real life horrors, real life heroes, real life monsters, and the conspiracies to keep them hidden.
It is about the 50-year-old unsolved murder of a Catholic nun, the allegations of sexual abuse levelled at a priest, and how the two cases could be connected. It’s about memories of violence, and it is about fighting for justice against a system that will do whatever it takes to attack the victims.
You could consider this your first recommendation of the week. Here are 5 other films you should watch to - more than anything else, educate yourself about this menace.
Spotlight is perhaps the best-known of the films in this list. It won, in a major upset, the Academy Award for Best Picture in the same year that Leonardo DiCaprio’s The Revenant was expected to sweep the show.
Featuring a top-form cast which included Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo and Liev Schreiber - Ruffalo and McAdams were also nominated for their performances at the Oscars - the film is about the Boston Globe’s Spotlight team of journalists, and their years-long investigation into a sexual abuse scandal that the church had allegedly covered up.
Like the other films in this list, it is not an easy film to watch, but it isn’t meant to be.
Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God (2012)
Alex Gibney, one of the finest documentarians working today, brought to light the “first known protest against clerical sex abuse in the US by four deaf men”.
To voice the subjects, who use rich, vibrant sign language to tell their horrific stories, Gibney brought on actors Jamey Sheridan, Ethan Hawke, John Slattery and Chris Cooper.
The title is derived from the Latin phrase, “Through my most grievous fault,” reiterating how the survivors in these cases are more likely to be blamed than the perpetrators.
Critic Roger Ebert, in one of his most personal reviews wrote, “To someone who was raised and educated in the Catholic school system, as I was, a film like this inspires shock and outrage.” And to the survivors in the film, the loss of their faith is another devastating blow, in addition to the horrors they’ve faced.
Twist of Faith (2005)
Over time, we notice that there is, tragically, a sameness to the stories of these survivors. Chances are, they will keep information about the abuse secret, sometimes, like the subject of this film, for decades. When they go public with the allegations, the church pours all their money into high-profile lawyers.
It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2005.
Deliver Us From Evil (2006)
Perhaps the only film which had the courage to confront Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the man who would only a few years later, become Pope Benedict XVI, about the Vatican’s alleged conspiracy to cover up allegations of sex abuse against an Irish priest.
This documentary is notable for several reasons: A, the priest, who admitted to molesting several children over decades, is prominently featured. B, it was the first film to suggest that the highest-level of Vatican officials were aware of the allegations, and deliberately chose to cover them up. The man the films suggests was directly involved in the cover up, was later made Cardinal, which is exactly what happened in The Keepers.
Like Twist of Faith, it also has a rare 100% rating on the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes.
Memories of Murder (2003)
Bong Joon-ho, who also directed Okja, came into prominence with this detective story set in his native South Korea, about the first reported serial killings in his country. While Memories of Murder is the odd one out in this list - it isn’t about clerical sex abuse - it is, like The Keepers, about an unsolved murder, and the toll it takes on everyone involved.
The event exists only in their memories, because most everyone else has since moved on. But for those who were a part of the killings, in whatever capacity, it has taken over their lives.
The film also inspired the first season of the cult HBO show True Detective, starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson.
Stay tuned for more next week