Review by Mark Schwab
Director Amir Bar-Lev's doc ("My Kid Could Paint That" and "The Pat Tillman Story") takes on the Penn St. child abuse nightmare perpetrated by Penn St. football coaching assistant Jerry Sandusky while higher ups turned a blind eye.
Unfortunately, this doc suffers from the same problem as Bar-Lev's "Pat Tillman Story" in that there are still too many sealed documents and upcoming trials (the Penn St. higher ups go on trial later this Spring) for there to be any real investigation to pursue. Frankly the damning Sports Illustrated article has more detail then is shown here. It's all surface and superficial, with nothing new uncovered or fresh perspectives gathered from key witnesses. He has a Penn St. dorm kid who comes off...well...like typical dorm kid. He has Joe Paterno's sons and widow who all say the same thing ("We had no idea", how could they have treated my dad/husband like that?"). He has an interview with a Penn St. film professor for no reason whatsoever.
In fact, the only mildly intriguing subject he nabbed was one of Sandusky's adopted sons. Matt Sandusky comes off sincere and surprisingly upbeat considering his harsh childhood and abuse from Jerry. He originally said to investigators that nothing had ever happened to him, but then recanted once the jury went into delibertations and even offered to testify against his adopted father. That story, if developed, could have been a much stronger lynchpin for detailing the Penn St. events than the dull Joe Paterno reputation rehab attempted here. It's another missed opportunity for Bar-Lev to take an amazing story and just play it totally safe so as not to piss off his bosses or bring some heat on himself. I liked Bar-Lev much better when he wasn't a "name" doc director and instead took some real risks like his superb doc, "My Kid Could Paint That".