(out of 5)
Somewhere on Long Island in the mid-eighties, a seemingly normal, upper-middle-class family was torn apart when the father of the household, Arnold Friedman, was accused of numerous counts of child molestation and sexual abuse. He and his youngest of three sons, Jesse, ran a computer class in their basement after school hours, and after police found Friedman to be in possession of child pornography, they investigated his students and learned of further cases of abuse and rape. This fascinating documentary gets most of its stock from home movie footage taken by family members, particularly the eldest son David who had a strange obsession with videotaping absolutely every aspect of his family’s life. Family dinners, parties and most frighteningly, family fights are all on videotape to be viewed. The case itself is a confounding one, with sketchy evidence whose weight is mostly heightened through public fear, but made credible through Arnold Friedman’s own confessions. Andrew Jarecki has fashioned a searing document of a family falling completely apart at the seams, and watching this happen is an unforgettable experience to say the least.
Directed by Andrew Jarecki
Cinematography by Adolfo Doring
Produced by Andrew Jarecki, Marc Smerling
Music by Andrea Morricone
Production Design by Nava Lubelski
Film Editing by Richard Hankin