The rot from the top
broader, brick-wall conspiracy that goes all the way to the top.
In this spirit, Mea Maxima Culpa offers a wealth of shame-making facts and details regarding the Holy See. The results are engrossing and often devastating, but lack the taut focus of Amy Berg’s similar Deliver Us from Evil (2006).
The inner workings of the Vatican may be interesting but, structurally, the film falters when it loses track of its deaf complainants. A detour to Ballyfermot and an extended section in Rome ought to, one feels, feature in another documentary altogether.
Occasionally, the project’s televisual origins (HBO) tell. The narration is too TV-friendly. Snippets of sinister music and dialogue such as “like the song says – ‘He looked like an angel, talked like an angel’ . . . ” is surely aimed squarely at folks surfing through channels and not at ticket buyers.
As the film sprawls beyond its remit, we get plenty of fascinating research but nothing that works toward a satisfactory denouement. Recent Vatican dispatches might have done the trick. Certainly it’s impossible to leave the cinema without hoping that the Papal resignation and the awful events explored here are not unrelated.