Be warned: ‘Deliver Us from Evil’ is like a nightmare from which you cannot wake up. But it’s a nightmare every upstanding citizen should have, because it tackles the taboo subject of child molestation – specifically within the
Catholic clergy – with a heretofore unseen, open honesty that is both confrontational and disturbing.
Oliver O’Grady, Thomas Doyle
Be warned: ‘Deliver Us from Evil’ is like a nightmare from which you cannot wake up. But it’s a nightmare every upstanding citizen should have, because it tackles the taboo subject of child molestation – specifically within the Catholic clergy – with a heretofore unseen, open honesty that is both confrontational and disturbing.
Between the mid 1970s and 1986, Father Oliver O’Grady sexually assaulted more than one hundred Californian children, the youngest – if you’re squeamish you might want to skip to the next sentence – being nine months old. It’s like the storyline of the most depraved horror film imaginable, except in this film the stars don’t just peel off their cars after the camera stops rolling. That’s right, ‘Deliver Us from Evil’ is a documentary.
Filmmaker Amy Berg interviews three families whose lives were touched by this appalling creature, the very definition of a wolf in sheep’s clothing. But this is not your five-minute segment on ‘A Current Affair’ or even an in-depth piece on ’60 Minutes’ or PBS. This is an unflinching account of what happened to these unfortunate children and their unassuming parents (some of whom trusted O’Grady enough to let him stay the night in their homes). The camera lingers to capture every word and every emotion as they relate their shocking ordeals.
Berg also conducts extensive interviews with O’Grady himself, who is now living in Ireland after serving 14 years for his heinous acts. Listening to this man will make your skin crawl and your blood boil. His lips speak remorse, but it never once touches his eyes. Can I be candid here? If I saw him in the street, I would need to exercise every ounce of willpower I have not to take to his head with a baseball bat. Perhaps the only thing that would stop me is the knowledge that O’Grady himself was a victim of a paedophile priest.
Underpinning these human elements is an expose on the collusion and cover-ups infecting every echelon of the clerical hierarchy – a conspiracy so extensive it’s almost beyond belief. The Catholic church has spent $1 billion in settlements relating to paedophilia charges, and since 1950 it is estimated there have been 100,000 victims in the US alone.
More words seem pointless. ‘Deliver Us From Evil’ is, quite simply, the most important documentary ever made.
Reviewer : Mark Bennett