Monday, November 19, 2018

Detainment (2018)

The Oscar qualified Detainment is a punch in the face. It is a film that will leave you staring at the screen wondering how something like this could have happened.

Based on the released transcripts and public record it tells the story of Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, two ten year old boys, who kidnapped toddler James Bulger from a shopping mall in England and then murdered him. The spine of the film is the police questioning of the boys, bouncing back and forth we watch as the kids at first deny everything, but then we watch as they crack and their stories begin to change. Hanging off the interviews are recreations of the kids out and about, interacting with adults they meet along the way.

This film will knot up your stomach and make you sick. Talk about the banality of evil.

Watching the kids (who give Oscar worthy performances) react to the increasing serious nature of the discussion left me shaking my head. Unlikely to be part of the discussion are the actors playing the parent who at first are supportive of the kids as they believe they know couldn’t have done anything wrong but slowly, they go numb and into shock as the enormity of the crime becomes clear. They are not showy roles, they are almost window dressing at times, but ones that hit home and hit hard.

Detainment will leave you drained. It’s an absolute must see.


  1. Were can you see this short film? Thanks

    1. I'm not sure- I know it will be in the Oscar Shorts collections that will hit theaters and VOD shortly here in the US

  2. Sickening normalisation of a brutal murder of a child. To the detriment of the memory of the victim and to the healing of his family.