Children art is critically important tool in handling cases of paedophilia
This picture was used in the movie as a key
The Pledge (2001) is a small big masterpiece by director Sean Penn and lead actor Jack Nicholson as retired Police Detective Jerry Black.
The movie was not made as a crowd pleaser and so it has not pleased the crowd: it made only 19 million dollars domestically and 9 million abroad. (To be honest, I would be very happy to make just one million profit on something...)
The problem is that the Pledge is uncomfortably true.
We go to movies to escape reality, not to confront it in its full power in a way that makes us think about humanity long after seeing the episode.
The majestic scenery in British Columbia enforces the raw realism of the very well told story and gives epic proportions to the powerful performance of Jack Nicholson which relies on minimalistic acting. A genius of police work that nobody, not his colleagues nor the people closest to him, truly understand or appreciate.
The entire movie could be compared to minimalistic music style where much is said with few things and much is being left unsaid. The viewer fills in the gaps and this makes the experience so enticing and taught provoking.
Camera work is one of the keys to the success of the narrative. It is not documentary style TV but something much more - the viewer joins in the experience of the actor as the camera shows what he or she is feeling, seeing. Viewer participation in the events is highly visual and thus intensive without any unnecessary explanation, the narration itself contains so much to think about and on many different psychological and sociological levels.
The Pledge describes people with sharp and realistic manner giving us glimpses of their deeper attitudes and motives. For example, the way the movie describes how Detective Stan Krolak (Aaron Eckhart) drives to suicide the retarded Indian man (Benicio del Toro) who was seen at the crime scene.
One of the ways the Pledge surprises us is its totally non-Hollywood and somewhat unhappy ending. We get the feeling that if only Lori (Robin Wright Penn) would have really understood the depth of Jerry's care for little Chrissy. At the same time we understand that it would have demanded a different level of maturity from the mother to do so. Unable to process what happened Jerry is in danger of losing his mental health and is left at the end of the movie like a fish slowly dying on dry land.
He went fishing for the murderer of children but did not catch the fish. God got the killer, perhaps Olivier, before.
The story is skilfully structured in two cycles, first introducing the serial killer in general terms and mapping his crimes, then bringing Jerry to the same cycle of events but now personally involved. The architecture of the narration comes from Friedrich Dürrenmatt who wrote the Pledge in 1958: Das Versprechen: Requiem auf den Kriminalroman,
The Pledge is a powerful documentary about paedophilia never ever approaching pornography itself.
It shows how even the most respectable men respected in the society could possibly be guilty of such heinous crime against humanity. The police has seen it all.
And it shows Chrissy as the perfectly innocent victim, angelic and beloved child.
Why would any male want to rape and brutally murder such a human being?
Exactly for that reason - because she is innocent, angelic, pure virgin.
Something clicks in the minds of some men and the normal lust after pure woman, after the virginity that God has created in women, grows into an obsession with devastating consequences.
In the movie the possibly guilty serial killer of young girls is burned painfully to death.
Jesus Christ had another suggestion:
"Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea."
It would be better...