Netflix’s new true crime documentary mini-series explores the unsolved murder case of Sister Cathy Cesnik, but delves much much deeper into the Catholic Church and reports of sexual abuse of children.
This series is often compared with Making a Murderer (another Netflix documentary) which is high praise indeed, and there are a lot of reflections. The Keepers is excellently structured and edited, drip feeding necessary information gradually to show how the case gradually unravelled further.
With fantastic use of visuals, audio, dramatisations, archive footage and interview all immaculately placed to develop the narrative of the series, slowly unravelling the case and providing big cliffhanger reveals to pull you through what can be a tough watch.
This structure and editing provide the tense, dark tone to the documentary which is so powerful that it can be genuinely difficult to watch, particularly due to the subject matter. This unflinching look into the murder case and paedophilia accusations can feel somewhat emotionally draining, but necessarily so and the series should not be discredited for this.
The series does a fantastic job of bringing out the human and emotional aspects of the documentary, allocating time for us to really meet the people involved, be that the two women at the helm of their own investigation or the victims themselves. This provides another level of attachment and genuine empathy for the victims and those with their lives impacted by this case. It’s not a series you can simply walk away from and forget about due to the way it gets you emotionally involved.
I feel that some information is repeated or ground is retrod a little too much which could be cut to provide a shorter run time per episode (as seven hours of this subject can be very emotionally draining and distressing), however the case does take a lot of twists and turns with a lot of people who come into the picture and it is easy to get lost.
Despite this, The Keepers is a fantastically made documentary that provides necessary unflinching detail and information on the murder of Sister Cathy Cesnik, as well as the allegations of child sexual abuse by members of the Catholic Church. The structure, pace, tone and editing of the documentary is excellent and does exceptionally well in bringing you in emotionally.