Sundance 2015: Pervert Park is a Bold Character Study That Brings Humanity to Sex Offenders

By  · Published on January 27th, 2015

Sundance Film Festival

There were several walkouts during the screening I caught of Pervert Park. I don’t know what those people anticipated from a documentary about a community of sex offenders, but it is worth noting that however intense you think a film with that descriptor will be, this one will likely exceed those expectations. These sex offenders, some of whom committed absolutely insidious crimes, discuss said crimes with unsparing candor. Nothing about this film seeks to soften its subject matter.

What it does try to do is bring humanity to its characters. It’s a difficult proposition, especially in light of how it refuses to conceal their actions. But it works. These men and one woman tell their stories, and empathy is more powerful than the social conditioning that tells us all sex offenders are monsters. The truth is that many of them are themselves victims and that the system is failing to properly treat the abused, which perpetuates a cycle of further abuse.