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Critical Analysis of Cinematic Continuity Issues in ‘Leaving Neverland’

March 19, 2019 3 comments

Given the amount of time I spend browsing some of more obscure parts of the Internet, it is not surprising for me to run into some rather unconventional stuff and ideas. One of many YouTube channels which I came across many years ago is known as Collative Learning and is run by Rob Ager. While he is best described as a cinema critic, a lot of his work is rather different from the other fake ‘quirky’ YouTubers who run channels that also critique cinema and TV shows. Let me put it this way, his takes on various movies and shows are very meta and quite unconventional. To be clear, you do not have to agree, let alone believe, everything he says- but some do actually make sense. Anyway, let us now get to the topic at hand.

Some of you might remember that I recently wrote a post about posthumous accusations of child abuse against Michael Jackson made in a HBO documentary called ‘Leaving Neverland’. The main point I made in that post was that given MJs rather screwed up upbringing, it is not unlikely that he had less-than-appropriate relationships with young boys. In it, I also pointed out that it was almost impossible for such interactions to occur without cooperation from parents of both boys (now adults) who accused him of sexual abuse a decade after his death. Which is a nice way of saying the parents of those boys did not care too much about what was occurring between MJ and their children as long as money and gifts kept flowing.

Rob Ager has a different take on that documentary. In his opinion, the continuity errors and when they occur suggest that seemingly single-take interviews were done over a period of many days and perhaps weeks or months. While it is not unusual to splice good footage from multiple shots over a period of days, Rob points out that it has been done to give the superficial appearance of a single extended take. To put it another way, he is trying to say that the final shots used in that documentary were likely the result of multiple takes done to get the best reaction aka acting from both the main interviewees. He also points out evidence which suggests that certain elements of their stories were almost certainly shot a few weeks or months later, but done in a manner to give the outward appearance of being part of the original series of interviews.

I have always found it odd that the two interviewees in the HBO documentary testified in favor of MJ as late as 2005 (when they were adults) but changed their story completely almost a decade after his death. Some of you also know that at least one of them had unsuccessfully sued the estate of MJ a couple of years ago, but only after he fell into personal financial trouble. It is hard to shake the suspicion that their accusations and this documentary was about making money, especially in the “MeToo” era, rather than seeking justice. Have a look..

What do you think? Comments?