Netflix has become a hub for directors to magnify outranged interviews in documented movies. As we began Athlete A, my confused mother turned to me to say 'This isn't a film. It's real life events.' She was coming to terms with the plot, a distressing tale whereby the voices of the US Gymnastics team, and Indianapolis Star, expose Dr. Larry Nassar's lifetime of sexual abuse. Like many of these edited media forms, which turn our gaze at one peripheral view of an individual, it was sure to leave us frustrated by the law and resolutions made by people of power.
The film displays the knowledge very fluently, similarly to many others like Three Identical Strangers and Amanda Knox, whereby the viewer is fed the truth at the beginning, leaving multiple questions to arise into how we land back to this tragedy. What makes it such a harrowing movie is the real security footage used of Larry himself in police questioning. As he sits sweating over his allegations, the audience are shown into a key hole that makes it creepy and alarming. The driving factor comes from the interviews with the young athletes, as their bravery is washed across the screen, until they obtain their justice. Each timeframe is cleverly progressed and narrated into how long they have been silenced for. The graphics of the film, for example the photographic time lines and detailed names for the case, is visually stunning; it gives the audiences a backbone of legal information to turn their minds to anger. Looking back on the history of the sport also made the story more compelling and informative for the viewer. One of the most powerful salutes in the movie was the final court scene, whereby the girls got to read out their statements, a moment of release towards a man that caused them so much pain.
It's important to get everyones side from a documentary. Whereas the film exploits many of the gymnasts stories, there is rarely any focus on Larry's life at all. It would have been interesting to have some intel from friends or family of their reaction to his allegations at the end of the movie. There was also repetition on Maggie's story, even though incredibly important, that could have been downscaled or spanned out between all the survivors.
Seeing real life footage dated years back, whereby a storyteller can voice what was going on with them around that time, is the type of terrifying film making that attracts viewers. We have watched the world modernise in sport, becoming stylised and pretty, and it's only now we can review mistakes made by our former quieter selves. This film shines the light of the positions of people in higher power that, in the last 20 years, couldn't be seen to our perfectly glazed eyes. It's a triumph of a movie, one rather concerning in it's facts and figures, but all round entertaining for us to wake up and listen to.