Square One mounts a full-throated defense of Michael Jackson against the charges of pedophilia that plagued him in the latter part of his life and career. The centerpiece of the film lies in its debunking of the initial allegations made against Jackson in 1993. If those allegations can be disproven, the film seems to be arguing, then the subsequent charges against Jackson must be dismissed as well. To assist in this endeavor, filmmaker Danny Wu has assembled a series of never-before-aired statements from case witnesses, and new interviews with figures in Jackson's inner circle, including his nephew and 3T band member Taj Jackson.
The 1993 case never made it to court. Instead, Jackson paid his accuser - Jordan Chandler - a sum of $15 million to stop the case in its tracks. The film suggests that the case originated from a bitter custody battle between Chandler's parents. In an effort to attain full stewardship over his son as well as a hefty payout, the father drummed up false charges against Jackson and worked feverishly to coach his son to verify these allegations through false testimony.
The film damns many of the central players in this sad drama, as well as the circus players who roamed on its periphery. The non-stop media coverage of the case led to often misleading, and always sensationalist headlines.
A few interviews are offered that support the film's hypothesis that Jackson was wrongfully accused, including conversations with the legal secretary for prosecuting attorney Barry Rothman and, curiously, a series of fans who visited Neverland Ranch.
The film also tackles additional controversies related to the tabloid frenzy surrounding Jackson, including the scrutiny he received from his rare skin condition and the findings from the five search warrants that were carried out on his properties.
Square One is clearly the work of a fan on a mission, but it's produced with a lot urgency and passion. Viewers will have to decide for themselves if the insights contained in the film effectively disprove the initial accusation from 1993, or build a compelling case for the dismissal of the additional allegations that followed.
Directed by: Danny Wu