Review of The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst (2015)

Moving picture, 4.7 hours

Seen in 2018.

The difficulty of getting a rich white American convicted for murder.

True crime without a conviction. Some of the forensic footwork, particularly in Galveston, is impressive in itself and well presented. This creates a good sense of how the human factor, with dishonest lawyers manipulating a jury through comedy, is what makes the legal system fail. Occam’s razor applied to the physical evidence would surely have produced a conviction for murder. The order of events is good for my lack of familiarity with the case.

Other elements of Jarecki’s presentation are annoyingly poor: Rhythmically pulsating soundtrack, over-aestheticized dramatizations, too much screen time for media-horny freak Jeanine Pirro, and an exaggerated focus on the death of Durst’s mother. Jarecki seems foolishly wary of “medicalizing” Durst by testing him for the diagnostic criteria even of ASPD or psychopathy, leaving the documentary without any meaningful explanatory framework. The last episode descends into amateur sleuthing shot like reality TV. Bonus points for clipping from The Daily Show (1996).

moving picture non-fiction series