The Keepers (Netflix, May 2017) should be required viewing for…everyone. This earth shattering and harrowing documentary series is something new and more graceful in the field of citizen journalism & internet sleuthing than some of the “cold cases” or “miscarriage of justice” series of recent years. It unfolds in a true journalistic, rather than sensationalist, fashion, with key players who covered the cases at issue as well as the new heroes invested in solving two 45 year old unsolved murders and the web of abuse and corruption that appear to be linked to the death of a young nun and beloved high school teacher, Sister Catherine Cesnik.
It’s about bad men and monsters and all those who enable them, and the great gift of our good men too. It’s important. It’s sweeping in scope, both citizen journalism & activist; with a bit of gentle sleuthing, it’s pure and lovely and built on a couple of women who loved their murdered teacher. It’s also a deeply empathetic & thoughtful story that foregrounds survivor stories (truths) displays a wealth of grace and female tenacity and the strength that incredibly grows from comes from seeds of pain.
Filmmaker Ryan White has been lauded for his HBO film “The Case Against 8” and deserves recognition for this work, as do the main participants in the film many of them coming out of anonymity most bravely to tackle the mighty, embattled, and now crumbling, Catholic Church.
A small quibble is that while the chain of events and gross miscarriage of justice in the lack of closure for Cathy Cesnik shines a light on possibly related (but utterly uncorroborated) major crimes and indignities, coverups, insultingly low pay offs and faceless institutional indifference surrounding a clearly awful predator who escaped his reckoning (sort of), if the murder investigation had gone another direction away from him and reached a real conclusion back then (or still does) then it’s a bit of a disservice to the victim to paint a very compelling picture which, yet exonerates (and even, possibly protects) other suspects and the real killer (who may well have been a person very close to her.)
All in all, the questions and mysteries are handled with delicacy and care, with a sensitivity towards brave survivors (all of whom speak with the tenor of the ring of truth, and deserve your attention and recognition in an era of empty hype, rhetoric and callow attention seeking useless celebrity) & with a steady hand gives respect to a beloved and special woman gone far too soon, most cruelly.