Structure and truth

 Leaving Neverland, by Don Reed

After watching “Leaving Neverland” I understand the director’s way of selecting the people to interview.  He focused on the victims and their families, however the context and the sequence of events also point to the existence of the views, which denied their accusations.  So I don’t think the critique of his one side approach holds. 

I was impressed by two technical elements of the film: very effective positioning of the interviews second camera and a clever frame difference between the two.  This is sort of obvious but many times I see this maneuver butchered: mostly because of a wrong angle for a close up camera and because of weak framing for the main camera.    Here it’s perfect. 

Another strong thing was the use of drone shots.  Somehow their smoothness, grandiosity and spectacular views matched with strong music gave much needed breathing space, space that, which is strange, perhaps because of the horrifying context of the testimonies, acquired at times disturbing qualities.

For my taste, there was something off with the structure of the story and it's length.   Putting it bluntly: the milking of details in the first part made the process well …. tiresome.   The second part with its investigation of memories and the reactions of family members introduced structural opportunities  which got lost in the linear telling of the story.  I feel that to be in sync with the process of the abused finally speaking out, it would be better to start the story in the now and only then gradually uncover the psychological layers of lies and denial. 

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