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Sons of Perdition
dir. Tyler Measom, Jennilyn Merten / USA 2010 / 85’
subtitles: Polish


Sam Zitting, Joe Broadbent, Bruce Barlow, Sam Brower, Jon Krakauer

Film description

Sam, Joseph and Bruce are three teenagers who left The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS Church), an isolated religious community on the border of Utah and Arizona, banished for rejecting their order. The film follows their lives through normal teen angst, but also issues of dealing with life outside their former community (a feat made more difficult by their lack of education or address) and attempts at rescuing their teen sister threatened with an arranged marriage. With help from a well-to-do family that supports excommunicated FLDS members, the boys try to cobble together a new life, while longing for their loved ones, for whom they have ceased to exist.

Tyler Measom and Jennilyn Merten’s film is not about religious fundamentalism. The filmmakers give voice to the three exiles, who tell a tale of a community based on objectification of women and children, polygamy and arranged marriages of adults with juveniles. Banished adults enrich the perspective by explaining the violence and psychological manipulations that are FLDS mainstays. The film is a reminder that religious psychosis and attendant violence are not the sole province of protestant fundamentalism.

Samuel Nowak

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