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Deliver Us From Evil - 2006

  • Feb 10, 2009
Pros: outstanding and thorough story, well done interviews

Cons: none associated with the filming

The Bottom Line:
“There's a blaze of light
In every word
It doesn't matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah”
~Leonard Cohen

I saw a review about this movie that said if you were not a Catholic you would not understand this movie. I thought that was rather a broad statement because Deliver Us From Evil is a story about abuse. It doesn’t matter if you are Catholic, Protestant, Barbarian, or worship spotted Iguanas at noon, the story revolves around the sexual abuse of one person on another and religion, although in this case it harbored the criminal, has nothing to do with it at all. It is the loss in a belief, a respect, and an ability for one person to form admiration for another.

As a survivor of parental sexual abuse, I understand how deeply you can be betrayed by someone that was supposed to protect you and guide you through life. In this story the perpetrator was Father Oliver Francis O’Grady. From his early years in the church to the end of his service he used his power and authority to undermine and abuse those in his care, not always children. In some instances, he formed sexual attachments to parents simply in order to gain sexual freedom with their children. Be he priest, man, or wombat, he was using his power as a spiritual leader, a direct descendent from Jesus and God, to manipulate the minds and bodies of souls in his care.

The sad part of this story, that which is most shocking, is the knowledge that his direct supervisors had of his crimes yet they hid that information from others. Blatantly lying to authorities, they, ‘they’ being Cardinal Mahony, ignored the pleas from parishioners, buried letters of confession from O’Grady, lied to police, and blithely moved O’Grady from one parish to another as complaint after complaint piled up on him. His one mistake was moving O’Grady to his final parish in northern California where his crimes were finally disclosed.

But that certainly wasn’t the end of the story. What followed was the endless attempts by several of the survivors to gain audience with the Pope to have the files released pertaining to O’Grady and Mahony and have Mahony prosecuted for the cover up. O’Grady served only 7 of his 14 year sentence then was deported to Ireland where he happily roams the streets, free to continue his corrupt mannerisms.

This film, written and directed by Amy Berg, follows three families through their trials, their pain, their sorrow, their defeat. Two were girls, under age 5 when the abuse started, and one boy, 11 at the beginning of his abuse. Now they are fully grown, one almost 40 years old. The devastation of the families and the lives of these people is mind numbing and brought me to tears. But above all that is the harrowing interviews with O’Grady.

During the trial period he is evasive, as per his superiors instructions, and willingly did his meager sentence with the lure of their paid retirement for him on release. What was more unsettling were the interviews conducted at the present time where he is devoid of blame. Yes, he admits he may have done something inappropriate with some children, even adults, but he hopes they will forgive him. Again, it is all about him. He shows no real remorse and hopes that someday he can speak to them individually and, perhaps, even get a hug from them as they leave. There is data proving he had sexual intercourse with a 5 month old girl. Seriously, what the living hell is up with that?

But once again it comes back to Mahony, still active today with, oh dear, almost 600 under him being investigated for sexual abuse. His are the elusive ‘Kennedy Files’ that may or may not be released in some distant era, while the families suffer in silence. And the Vatican, with their ‘Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell’ policy keeps a blind eye and takes off their hearing aides when confronted with proof.

This is an outstanding documentary that earned 9 nominations, winning five. It is full of wonderful interviews from families, survivors, clergy, attorneys, friends and foes. There are some live news footage shots included, especially regarding the two women attempting to gain audience with the Pope. Overall I was quite pleased with the production although, at times, I found it very unsettling.



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More Deliver Us From Evil (2006) reviews
review by . May 11, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Structure, analysis, information      Cons: Audience a bit limited since it seems to be a Catholic for Catholic story      The Bottom Line: This is not a joyful topic. However if you want to know more about the sexual abuse by priests, it is a well told documentary.      Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie''s plot.      Deliver Us from Evil by Amy Berg is a documentary that …
review by . May 10, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
Listening to victims of pedophile priests grieve and vent is the heart of 'Deliver Us from Evil', and when director and writer Amy Berg allows them to do so, it is heart-wrenching. Sometimes the head needs a little work, but some of the errors are understandable--and certainly forgivable. Los Angeles is the center of most of the focus, especially on Fr. Oliver O'Grady, an immigrant priest from Ireland who is interviewed for this documentary. Touchingly two grown victims in particular, Ann Jyono …
review by . April 30, 2007
"Deliver Us From Evil"    Shocking Raw Emotions    Amos Lassen and Cinema Pride    Amy Berg has created a documentary film that should not go unnoticed, especially my members of the Catholic religion. "Deliver Us From Evil" is not only the story about the abuse of children and families by a priest, Father Oliver O'Grady but it is also about the evils and the politics within the Church which have allowed horrible things to happen. Here is …
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About this movie


A devastating investigation into the pedophilia scandals tearing apart the Catholic Church,Deliver Us From Evilbegins by looking into one priest, Father Oliver O'Grady, who agreed to be interviewed by journalist/filmmaker Amy Berg. O'Grady's genial calm is at first ingratiating, until he begins to describe his crimes with an unsettling sociopathic detachment. But O'Grady's blithe interview is only half of the story, as the documentary also unveils how church superiors covered up O'Grady's crimes and shuffled him from diocese to diocese in northern California, finally placing him in an unsupervised position of authority in a small town, where he sexually assaulted dozens of children; the video deposition of Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahoney is a grotesque portrait in brittle denial. What makesDeliver Us From Evilcrucial viewing, however, are the remarkable interviews with a few of the victims (now adults) and their parents, whose stories are wrenching and riveting. With the support of a priest seeking to reform the church, two of the victims actually go to the Pope, seeking some form of help in addressing O'Grady's crimes. This stunningly potent documentary combines raw feeling with lucid and persuasive discussions of the reasons for--and disturbing breadth of--this crisis within the Church.--Bret Fetzer
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Director: Amy Berg
Genre: Documentary
Release Date: October 13, 2006
MPAA Rating: Unrated
DVD Release Date: May 08, 2007
Runtime: 1hr 43min
First to Review

"Shocking Raw Emotions"
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