Serial Killers With No Victims (the Confessions of Thomas Quick, 2015)

confession_of_thomas_quickThe Confessions of Thomas Quick is the story of Sture Bergwall, Swedens most legendary serial killer.  He was quick to tell authorities, under the name Thomas quick, he was guilty of multiple boy’s deaths occurring between 1964 and 1993.

Coming from a tough childhood (compounded by realizing he was gay, and to cope, he opted to self medicate), Bergwell took his mother’s maiden name Quick.  There were four boys he molested early on and then had stabbed a man.  There was no real punishment, they just kept him under psychiatric care for a little longer.  In the late 80’s he ended up in a psychiatric clinic for a vicious armed robbery that included holding a bank manager’s family hostage.

It was there he started to confess several killings of young boys.    Quick was certainly disturbed, once calling one of his brothers on the eve of heart surgery telling his brother he hope he died on the table.

The documentary is both disturbing and frustrating.  Seeing how excited the press and police became at the idea of Sweden’s first serial killer.  The doctors were not better, as they quickly took to trying to expand their own careers with his therapy, exploring the heart of a serial killer.

One of the disturbing aspects is how politely Quick describes his acts.  His confessions went beyond rape and murder…he also claimed to have cannibalized his victims.  And yet, he was embracing his celebrity, taking advantage of the doctors’ excitement with each confessions.  The police were thrilled to close cases.  But as his stories continued, he was confessing to young boys, women, couples and so on.  He seemed to be having grand problems requiring more and more medication.  And the doctors were telling him how brave he was to be helping people.

And then it all stopped.  A doctor came to the clinic who cut off his medication.  And as he dried out, he stopped claiming victims and cooperating with police.  And then…he withdrew every confession.  There were those who had questioned his confessions, but so often, people argued that the court system could not have falsely convicted him every time.  Yet, Quick later confessed he got much of his ideas for his story by reading books such as American Psycho.

Using interviews with Sture, doctors, journalists and researchers, home movies and recreations, The Confessions of Thomas Quick assembles a story that exposes a dark side of humanity.  From the police investigations to his doctors to the media, there was an excitement over this sensational killer, and nobody involved even seemed to pause to question any of it.  And it appears a very lonely man saw his opportunity to be known.  To be impressed in people’s minds.

The documentary is chilling in it’s exploration of the story, and they pack a lot of information in an hour and a half.  This is a film that will make the viewer uncomfortable and even angry, but it is an important exploration of humanity’s penchant for giving celebrity to people for sickening acts.  And how one man can manipulate others for that fame.  In the end, this is a tragic story, because the crimes he confessed to?  They will never be solved.

 

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