Monday, September 16, 2019


Interrogation of Marie
Reading about Brett Kavanaugh - having watched the Senate Hearings when Christine Blasey Ford's accusations were summarily dismissed - and observing how those in positions of power deny a woman's reality when they claim they have been sexually abused made UNBELIEVABLE an 8-part series on Netflix even more disturbingly relevant. This excellent true-life series makes excruciatingly clear how the insensitivity of male detectives in the state of Washington quickly dismiss a young woman's claim of rape because of a "clean" crime scene, undermining her story and through intensive interrogation break any spirit she ever had. It is heartbreaking to witness how simple it is to manipulate a shy, vulnerable, person whose life has been violently capsized - whose body has been brutally violated - and manipulate them even further to the point where they have lost any sense of their own bearing and begin to doubt themselves.

Kaitlyn Dever who plays Marie is perfect in the role. I could not take my eyes off her as I watched this fragile teenager dwindle into a transparent phantom of her 18-year-old self. Not only does Marie no longer trust others, but she is an object of distrust. She speaks haltingly and conveys an "aloneness" that is impenetrable. She is unreachable.
Kaitlyn Dever
Miles away in Colorado a couple of years later, a serial rapist is committing one heinous assault after another and the two female detectives on the case are passionate about finding who did this and listening to the "victims". The perpetrator's modus operandi was always similar; DNA wiped away, no fingerprints, etc. Always a "clean" crime scene - but these women "cops" persist in their desire to get to the truth. The acting is superb - particularly Toni Collette as Grace Rasmussen a hardened, experienced detective (the toll of such investigations is evident) vs. the younger - softer Merritt Wever as Detective Karen Duval. Their approach is humane and sympathetic, both have strengths and weaknesses, as well as genuine sadness and furious anger which occasionally erupts in the course of this grueling investigation. Throughout the series, we also witness affection that is not sentimental but profound.

Merritt Wever and Toni Collette
We are privy to the painstaking step-by-step procedural work it takes to track down a criminal which I found fascinating. This is a group effort and in serial rape cases, a fierce commitment to sifting out clues is indispensable. Of course, there are detours but faith in one's own instincts is crucial. UNBELIEVABLE is a beautiful aperture into frailty and durability.