Friday, May 26, 2017
There’s been much made of the changes in viewing habits in the last decade. The move towards box set blow-outs being one of the trends. On the one hand they satisfy an audience’s desire for gorging gratification and on the other they turn a TV series into a vehicle for writers, directors and actors to explore complexity and nuance which might be denied them in a 2 hour film. The two most recent unswitchoffable documentaries to stalk my eyes and adhere me to the late-night sofa are: O J Simpson: Made in America (BBC4 catch-up) and The Keepers on Netflix. Both are documentaries. OJ (you think you know the story – you don’t) tears American so-called democracy into naked strips and hangs them on the line. Race, trial-by-emotion, Shakespearean tragedy, social inequality and the interior landscapes of all the lead players make it a proper Oscar winner. You are left certain of guilt – but it is guilt on a massive, national scale. Meanwhile, The Keepers is a strangely conceived and deeply disturbing investigation into a decades old cold case of a Nun’s death – uncovering a paedophile conspiracy of police, Catholic Church and prominent members of the Baltimore political establishment. The detective work is driven by two unobrusive women who had been children in the school at the time and had no inkling of the obscenities that lay behind the school priests’ doors. Layers are stripped back, appalling suppressed memories are released by victims with a courageous frankness that sears and you are left contemplating darkly about how large a percentage of the world’s (male) population have desire in them to commit acts of such depravity.