[Toronto True Crime Film Festival] Abducted in Plain Sight (2017) - Reviewed

Abducted in Plain Sight, directed, produced and filmed by Skye Borgman, is a poignant and emotionally moving documentary that recounts the horrifying experience of Jan Broberg and her parents who survived the manipulations of a sociopath.

Borgman knits together many visual elements including first person interviews, recreated dramatization of past events, stills, archival footage, voice-over narration, fades to black, time lapse, diverse editing techniques and angle shots to create a compelling documentary where innocence meets evil. First person interviews with Jan Broberg, her father Bob Broberg, her mother Mary Ann Broberg, her siblings, Karen Campbell, and Susan Broberg, Lead FBI Special Agent on the Broberg Case, Pete Welsh, and Joe Berchtold, Robert Berchtold's brother, are juxtaposed against the recreated dramatization of past events involving Jan and her family with Robert "B" Berchtold who abducted Jan not once but twice.

It's a balanced documentary juxtaposing the experiences of Jan, her parents, her siblings, against the perspective of the criminal justice system to put "B" behind bars, and against the backstory and motivations of Robert Berchtold as revealed through his therapy tapes, and taped conversations, and the opinion of his brother Joe. It shines a light on the pathology of pedophilia and the emotional and psychological impact the perpetrator has had on Jan and her family. You feel and sense Jan and her parents' pain, shame, and the emotional suffering they endured at the hands of a sociopath and pedophile. Robert Berchtold’s obsession with Jan knew no boundaries and he stopped at nothing to get his hands on her.

Abducted in Plain Sight is a powerful film that not only documents the moving story of Jan and her parents who fell into the clutches of a sociopath who betrayed their trust and inflicted untold damages on a young girl and her trusting family, but is also a story of courage and heroism shining a light on the pathology of sociopaths and pedophiles. It is well written, and directed, and is deserving of your attention. 

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-Stefan Chiarantano