Deliver Us From Evil

A new review from The Movie Snob

Deliver Us From Evil. The usual A through F grading scale seems inadequate to assessing the merits of this well-made documentary about pedophile Catholic priest Oliver O’Grady, the wake of destruction he left through central California over a 20-year period, and the inexplicable conduct of the diocesan leaders who enabled him to get away with it. As a practicing Catholic, I left the theater almost shaking with anger. Amazingly, the director actually got O’Grady himself and three of his victims to give her substantial interviews, which are the wrenching core of the film. After serving seven years in prison in California, O’Grady was deported to his native Ireland where he is apparently no longer a priest but roams the streets freely. He talks fairly freely about his crimes in his soft Irish brogue, showing no real comprehension or remorse and coming across as nothing short of a monster. No Catholic leaders cooperated in the making of the film, so the director uses videotaped depositions of Roger Mahoney (then a bishop, now cardinal of Los Angeles) and Monsignor Caen (apparently from civil lawsuits over O’Grady’s crimes) to damning effect. The movie falters only near the end when director Amy Berg (West of Memphis) tries to pin equal blame on the Vatican and even Pope Benedict himself; suddenly the film switches from specific concrete facts to ominous but vague insinuations voiced over still photographs of the current (unfortunately unphotogenic) Pope. The crimes and the real villains are so clear that this coda is really unnecessary. I would call this a must-see movie, but brace yourself for a harrowing experience.


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