Disturbing, creepy documentary by director Crystal Moselle, focuses on the Angulo family; seven children imprisoned in their Lower East Side Manhattan apartment, by their paranoid parents; Moselle sees the uniformly dressed brothers (6 boys and a girl) waist-length pony tails, dark suits, sunglasses; curiosity piqued, Moselle engages the boys and the result is one of the strangest urban, gothic tales ever told; an astounding example of the Stockholm Syndrome beginning with inception.
Intellectually and emotionally crippled parents, Hare Krishna’s, gift Sanskrit names to their offspring; (Peruvian father, American mother); father does not believe in working (giving into the system); mother collects money from the state by home-schooling; existence is defined, informed by movies; memorizing the dialogue and characterizing heroes and anti-heroes: “Batman”, “Godfather”, “Reservoirs Dogs”, “The Dark Knight”; not allowed to “socialize”, be contaminated by the outside world but excessive, violent role-playing meets with parental approbation.
Moselle’s project is extremely ambitions but flawed, problematic; too many unanswered questions; viewers must take gargantuan “leaps of faith”; the boys adore their mother, who claims victimization but is complicit with her husband’s principles. How can people who profess to love their children cauterize their mental and physical capabilities; keep them in vitrines, fragile specimens, isolated from normalcy?
Moselle, hopefully will monitor her subjects, eventually do a follow-up documentary, addressing the “doors” now open and how these maimed men have fared in the real world.
TWO & 1/2 STARS!!