Intrigued upon reading the synopsis of The Rev, the fact that it happened not too far down the road from 60MW Towers and was set during my favourite decade (the 80s), meant that I just had to give this a watch.
In 1985, Detective Inspector Gwyn Roberts was sent to the North Wales seaside town of Tywyn to investigate a threatening and anonymous letter, which eventually led him to the home of The Reverend Emyr Owen, a mild-mannered clergymen whom nobody previously suspected.
What the police found in his house was shocking: dozens of pornographic magazines and books on black magic, cannibalism and surgery. But the most vital discovery of all were a series of photographs from which one thing became clear: the reverend was guilty of abusing and mutilating human bodies awaiting burial.
The press naturally circled like vultures, a man of the cloth being charged with such heinous crimes was like a gift from God for them and Emyr was subsequently imprisoned.
The documentary is constructed through talking head interviews from both people who were there at the time as well as psychologists who break down Emyr’s state of mind, all held together by dramatic reconstructions of what apparently happened.
The first 30 minutes or so concentrate on the events leading up to Emyr’s arrest, and for me this was the most fascinating, though the remaining 90 minutes held my attention while it analysed the aftermath of everything that happened.
One thing that bothered me while watching (and still does today) is why Inspector Gwyn Roberts questioned Emyr about his sexuality upon first visiting him. This was initially about a threatening letter, so why bring sexuality into it? This is even brought up by of of the interviews, yet never addressed in full.
An interesting story that would probably have worked better as a 60 minute special, but well worth watching to find out about the duplicity of “Good Emyr” and “Bad Emyr”.
The Rev premiered exclusively on the Icon Film channel on October 2nd,
Followed by all major UK digital platforms from 8th January 2024.
Review by Dave
from a streaming link kindly supplied by the Icon Film Channel via Alternate Current.