Reviews

Capturing The Friedman's

5

Truth is harder to come by than you think in Andrew Jarecki's indie hit, which doesn't so much "capture" its subject as spotlight its grey areas.

In Jarecki's words, this startling documentary's purpose is to allow the audience to become the jury in a complex portrait of a "trial that never was": that of Arnold Friedman and his son, Jesse, on umpteen counts of child molestation in the late '80s. In doing so, Jarecki's helped by the oodles of Super-8 footage shot by one of Arnold's other sons, David, now a children's clown.

What's found is a family in crisis, an investigation that seems to have been - to say the least - shockingly conducted, and a media witch hunt set against familial unity. Sure, there are problems here, and the omission of the `third man' charged in the film feels problematic (see the extras). But Jarecki does a potent job of muddying the waters and applying intelligence to a high-emotion issue, creating an equal parts bewildering, troubling, riveting and thoroughly human portrait of suburban meltdown.

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