Abducted In Plain Sight – Netflix Documentary Review

The Parent Trap

I spend a lot of time researching new shows. I dedicate hours of each week filling out a diary full of upcoming releases for the months ahead to stay ahead of the game. What a surprise then then that the latest true crime film everyone seems to be talking about right now is one that flew completely under the radar, dropping on Netflix a few weeks ago.

Abducted In Plain Sight is a very frustrating film. The story is so unbelievable, so incredibly fantastical it almost beggars belief that this isn’t satirical. Set in 1974, this true crime documentary chronicles the tale of a man named Robert Berchtold and his obsession with his neighbour’s daughter, 12 year old Jan Broberg. After seducing both her mum and dad, this predator went on to abduct Jan twice and sexually abuse her over 200 times. As a parent myself, it’s really difficult to comprehend the naivety and sheer dumbfoundedness of the parents who are almost exclusively to blame for the abuse this 12 year old girl suffered.

From nonchalantly agreeing to homosexual masturbation to dropping charges for fear of exposing an affair, seeing these parents fail their child time and again is a crime unto itself. Whilst I do appreciate you can give the benefit of the doubt to people, given the fact this occurred repeatedly across the space of 2 or 3 years is something that’s likely to garner a lot of resentment and outright disbelief from a lot of people.

Abducted In Plain Sight is pretty simplistic in its design. It features all the usual tropes you’d expect from a film like this with archival footage and interviews with friends and family making up the bulk of time here. The story begins in a simply enough before the various twists and turns arrive that bring with it a number of re-enactments and archival audio for good measure. The focus here is much more driven toward the narrative though and it’s here where Abducted In Plain Sight stands out.

From a purely emotional perspective, Abducted In Plain Sight is unlike many other true crime documentaries on Netflix. Since dropping on the platform a few weeks ago, this documentary has spread like wildfire simply via word of mouth and it’s easy to see why.┬áMuch like Making A Murderer before it, Abducted In Plain Sight has enough engagement to keep you watching through to the end whilst weaving a narrative so unbelievable it’s almost certainly going to get people talking. For that alone, this documentary is a must-watch for anyone interested in seeing just how far this rabbit hole goes.

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  • Verdict - 7/10

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