Title: The Puppet Master: Hunting the Ultimate Conman

Year: 2022

Genre:  Crime  | Documentary  |

Seasons: 1 |

Runtime:  127 min

Creator: Sam Benstead & Gareth Johnson

Starring: Charlie Ives, Sophie Clifton, John Atkinson




Puppet Master from Netflix, depict the conman Robert Freegard and his crimes against families in Britain, France, and the USA. The story tells it parallels with both the crimes he did in 1993 and 2012, which is confusing to keep track of which story contain which. It shifts in-between and it’s first in the end where it gets clarified in an obvious way. The crimes may not seem to be all to the grave but the psychological terror Freegard has delivered on the families and the aftermath, therefore is quite serious.

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Even if there’s no murder and domestic violence involved, the horrendous effect, the psychological is painful still, which shows when each involved victim gets to speak their role in the campaign against rich families. The filmmakers try to elevate the tension, building it up and close into the final third episode.  It works fairly as it involves the U.S and the FBI, to establish an investigation and help Scotland Yard. At first, the Police seems to be ignorant and stupid by most accounts. They don’t do anything, as everyone repeats the same mantra over and over and over again.

To clarify the interviews and the talking heads, even more, they have the interviewer’s voice involved on two occasions. It’s fine but the story doesn’t get better, the family doesn’t get their deserved retribution over the crimes of Freegard, at least until he was caught at Heathrow Airport. The docuseries on barely two hours has its ups and downs with a lot of horrible reenactments that doesn’t add any depth to the story filmmakers tries to give. As always, RAW produces mediocre series, and this is another one in their library that culminate in a confusing take. Even if it has an emotional impact, it struggles to get involved until half the series. It struggles hard because the filmmakers and the productions company doesn’t know how to make non-killing crime entertaining for the mainstream audience.

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Overall, the docuseries is decent. It has bits that make a harrowing effect but struggle on the darker part where pathos takes a role in the conman’s twisted world. It also shows how damaged these families are and how far parents are willing to go, to get their children back to safety.

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