July 06, 2005

Painful Reality

Tucson Weekly


Twist of Faith, director Kirby Dick's documentary about the sexual abuse of teenagers by an Ohio priest, made me think about what makes movies so compelling. Like most people, I adore big ol' Hollywood blockbusters, because they indulge the audience in a fantasy where goodness defeats evil. And not just defeats it, but really humiliates it and makes it say it's sorry and that from now on, it won't be evil so much as vaguely malign or perhaps dead.

Of course, that's also what's wrong with Hollywood blockbusters (and Hollywood lacklusters as well, for that matter): They're too clear-cut and simplistic. In the real world, things are never so black and white. Like, I bet Goebbels was exactly the guy to go to for a big hug, and that Stalin never failed to call his mom on her birthday.

Or maybe there really is evil in the world. Twist of Faith takes a look at what can happen when evil is not only allowed to run unchecked, but is actually given an expense account and the best lawyers money can buy.

Dick begins his film with the videotaped deposition of former priest Dennis Gray, who, on top of presenting God's sacraments, presented his penis into the mouths of a number of teenagers who had been placed under his loving care. The focus of the film then shifts to Tony Comes, a 34-year-old firefighter, husband and father who is trying to deal with finding out that Gray has moved into his neighborhood, which wouldn't be such a big deal if Gray hadn't made a habit of repeatedly raping Comes 20 years earlier.

Posted by kshaw at July 6, 2005 07:17 PM