Milwaukee Film Festival 2016: Untouchable
By Andrea Thompson
When you hear of a person being forced to live under a bridge or in a homeless encampment, having to go to jail because they were a few minutes late for a meeting, unable to get a good job, or even go to a park with their children, our first instinct is sympathy, even if the person is a felon. But it's more complicated than that in “Untouchable,” because the people are suffering from arbitrary, draconian laws are all sex offenders. Some of them are genuine victims who had consensual sex with a person a few years younger than them, but others are the people society deservedly fears and scorns most, those who have molested or raped children. “Untouchable” dares to show these people as human, even as the doc never allows us to forget victims and their pain. It also explores how Florida has been leading the charge with some of the toughest sex offender laws in the nation, mostly due to Ron Book, a powerful lobbyist whose daughter Lauren was sexually abused by a nanny, and how the family's pain and their desire to prevent other children from being harmed affects them and the people they're trying to help. It's a heavy load for a film to bear, and the fact that “Untouchable” succeeds so well is nothing short of miraculous, especially as this is director David Feige's first film. But Feige succeeds in creating an experience which is equally thoughtful and emotional. One of the documentary's only flaws is ironically that in following Ron and Lauren, there are some family dynamics that beg to be explored further, rather than just mentioned. Seeing “Untouchable” couldn't be called a pleasant experience; rather, it is one of the bravest, empathetic, most deeply unique explorations of our times and society.