There is not much out there. Borgman found a terrific story and that is the greatest asset of Abducted in Plain Sight. It succeeded big-time for a documentary and it got her name out there. Congratulations, you are a success in your field.
The stars of the film are the Broberg family, especially the parents Mary Ann and Bob. It could not have been made without them and they are the reason why or how the documentary works.
Exploitative? A little.
One of the worst things about the documentary is the use of actors or scene recreation. It is impossible to tell what is real and what is not. Further, it does not delve at all into Berchtold’s childhood, background, wife, or family; it takes the psychopath’s and psychiatrist’s word for it all and treats it as a climax for the story without verification. I was almost an adult during the ’70’s and the idea of aliens and a cassette recorder in a motor home is absurd. Finally, the film makes almost no mention of Berchtold’s other crimes and the efforts of the local police.
There is no reason 91 minutes is an excuse. Dominick Dunne could have done it in 42. I would be skeptical of an 8-part miniseries from Ms. Borgman too because as an investigator or storyteller she appears to be biased. In The Atlantic interview she states that many people refused to speak on camera to her (she served as director, producer, and filmographer). I take that to mean if they were not willing to be bothered by her personal task, that part of it is excluded.
The story of “B”–like Aunt Bee–probably because Jan’s father was also Robert, had not been widely told. There was not a book except for Stolen Innocence: The Jan Broberg Story, written by mother Mary Ann and based on FBI files of the case, and there has not been a documentary film until now. Probably Ms. Borgman is talented filmmaker because her film is compelling as hell, but told just through the victims, it leaves out the essential bio of the perpetrator.
There is no question that even during the early ’70’s psychologists and people in an organization like the FBI knew about pedophiles, con men (and women), and manipulative, malignant narcissists.
Many of us have also learned that Joseph Smith was a fraudster and elements of Mormonism are based on what can best be described as cover-ups, rationalizations, and justifications. Borgman was out of her league in dealing with these and the LDS church is barely mentioned in the hour and a half feature film. Teaching or forcing children into believing the virtues of Smith, Brigham Young, or the current and subsequent prophets is similar to brainwashing them about aliens. Warren Jeffs, who was also the schoolmaster, used used recorded lectures in a soothing, monotone voice extensively.
The case is very similar to that of Lori and Chad Daybell in that the aliens told them to do it. Near the center is ‘I’m going to do it my way and I’m going to manipulate other people into going along.’ ‘I had visions’ or ‘My mission is to impregnate you’ can then be added.
At the very core is narcissism, which means I don’t care who I hurt.