An Open Secret

2014

Crime / Documentary

3
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 88% · 17 reviews
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 75% · 250 ratings
IMDb Rating 7.3/10 10 2466 2.5K

Director

Top cast

Corey Haim as Self
Bryan Singer as Self
720p.WEB
905.1 MB
1280*532
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 38 min
Seeds 15

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by TheFilmFreak1 7 / 10

Effective, but Tainted

Since the horrific revelations concerning Harvey Weinstein, this documentary has received a significant amount of renewed interest, mostly due to the decision by executive producer Matthew Valentinas to re-release the film on Vimeo after an extremely limited theatrical release in 2014 not long after the scandal broke. Whilst the category of people that are the target of sexual abuse differ between the Weinstein story and this documentary, the incompetence (and potential complicity) of the Hollywood system evident in the abuse is much the same. This gives the already emotionally heavy documentary added weight that was only compounded by the revelations concerning actor Kevin Spacey and the further accusations directed against director Bryan Singer.

Unfortunately a great deal of the coverage it has received since the Vimeo release has been from reactionary conservatives such as Mark Dice and Alex Jones, which has given the film the surface appearance of an exploitation piece designed more to permit Middle America their two minutes of righteous hate for the mean liberals who challenge their senpai Trump than to actually guide the film industry to better things. Producer Gabe Hoffman is to blame for much of this, as it has been his voice on the film's social media platforms that has associated the film's cause with lots of ugly, reactionary right-wing opinions and, worse still, memes. He should learn that people who complain about Hollywood's depravity are more often complaining about Hollywood's hypocrisy in pointing it out in others than decrying the horror of ignoring credible accusations. Furthermore, I find it suspicious that the film fills its run-time ENTIRELY with five stories of male-on-male abuse (one who I think might have even been over 18 when the abuse happened), ignoring the half of the population that has historically had less power in Tinseltown. Could it be that Hoffman wanted to capitalise on the aversion some viewers have towards homosexuals to try and make his pedophilia movie shock viewers more?

Ultimately, however, the film itself is objective and non-sensational whilst retaining a strong sense of the suffering of its five subjects. Evan Henzi, a charming, compassionate teenager who suffered terrible molestation by his talent agent from the age of 12 (and threats of being sued by Hoffman when Henzi complained about certain elements of the documentary), has the most engaging story to tell, whilst Michael Egan III, who a year later was convicted for fraud (and whose accusations against Bryan Singer have essentially been discredited), has the least engaging story, primarily because it is so vague. I attribute the tone and quality of the footage captured solely to Amy J. Berg, an Academy Award winning documentarian renowned for her ability to speak truth to institutions awash with corruption and complacency. Her flare for the subtly dramatic also gives the film something of a tear-jerker ending mixed with a twist for one of the five subjects followed that, if not for the contentious suitability of the subject for a documentary about abuse of underage aspiring actors, is the film's greatest artistic triumph.

Yet Berg is by no means a perfect fit for the material, as her aforementioned focus on depraved institutions results in the film having a lack of focus. It tortuously struggles to find a root cause for the whole problem, but unlike the Catholic Church or the American justice system (both past subjects of hers), Hollywood is not hierarchical enough to be reasonably declared totally apathetic on an institutional level. There's no chain of command that would have had to have known about these complaints, and the film's one attempt to try and blame a consortium of shadow investors for having knowledge of 'pedophile pool parties' is it's biggest research failure. In reality (certainly according to Chris Turcotte, who complained about being grossly misquoted in the film) most of the attending models were likely 18 years plus or one or two years shy, with a small - but nevertheless disturbing - minority of 15 to 13 year olds mixed in, and only three people were ever said to be present whilst these underage boys were skinny-dipping in the pool. The owner of the house where these parties were held, Marc Collins-Rector, is painted as the head of this conspiracy, but about the only co-conspirators the documentary can confidently offer up are his two live-in male concubines, Brock Pierce and Chad Shackley... PEDOWOOD CONFIRMED!! At least we can all agree Collins-Rector is horrible.

Nevertheless, the film does a fine job at demonstrating that there are far too few safe guards against child predation, and far too few professional consequences for those found to have committed gross violations of standards of fundamental human decency. See this film to get a sense of the problem, but don't expect it to give you any clear direction of what action to take next, and against whom.

Reviewed by / 10

Reviewed by subxerogravity 8 / 10

If anything it was very educational

The documentary about child abuse in Hollywood. It was laid out mostly like a conversation featuring former child actors, their parents and a few professionals on the subject telling their stories about how kids are targeted by pedophiles in the business, some of which were never convicted and still work in the industry today

It's one of those subjects that should not be swept under the rug but exposed like a nerve for the world to see so things can be done about it.

The movie is a little bit one sided however, as it focuses on only little boys who'd gone through sexual abuse as actors, and it neglects children as a whole. The movie talks about how pedophiles don't gender discriminate between boy and girls than apologizes for only using male subjects.

But I noticed that the movie actually focus on one target, mainly a case that happen in the late 90s and everyone connected to that case including Bryan singer director of X-Men was pointed out ( I had previous knowledge of the case as a boy tried to sue singer some time ago for sexual misconduct)

So the documentary does get a conversation going which is great but as a documentary I did not find it well rounded enough I must admit.

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