March 15: The Jinx: The Life & Deaths of Robert Durst (#15)

Well the timing of this blog is certainly a little funny, but not very surprising considering how episode 5 of HBO's The Jinx: The Life & Deaths of Robert Durst ended last Sunday night. I had already been planning on writing about The Jinx for #DocuMarch ever since the first episode aired, but wanted to wait until the series completion (tonight, day 15) to finally do so. 

As I started prepping the post... I saw this morning's headline from The New York Times.

Like... whoa. So instead of potentially giving away any spoilers after tonight's finale... I decided to write this one a couple hours early.  

Similar to The Staircase (day #10), The Jinx is a docu-series consisting of six episodes that began in early February (and wrapped up tonight (3/15) at 8pm), that tells the story of NYC real-estate heir Robert Durst and the mysterious circumstances surrounding the disappearance of his wife Kathleen more than 20 years ago.

But not just his wife. Durst's best friend Susan Berman is also dead, and so is his Galveston, TX neighbor Morris Black. Oh, and Black's body was dismembered & discovered in pieces by a kid who was fishing in Galveston Bay.

Durst is a striking character, but mostly for his utter charmlessness. He’s brusque, he’s blunt, he’s cold and irritable. He may be wealthy, but he’s not in the least debonair; he seems to lack the tools for smoothing over human interaction or for even feigning empathy.
— James Poniewozik, TIME.com

WHO'S WHO?

THOUGHTS

The Jinx is absolutely terrific if you enjoy cliffhangers and perfectly framed reenactments packed into bite-size (45 min) episodes. The music score couldn't be better, and the unbiased filmmaking lets the viewer make their own conclusions with every episode. Hell, even the theme song is pretty good and that's something I can't say about almost every other show in the history of television.  

If some of this sounds familiar, it's probably because there's a Ryan Gosling movie that's already been made about this very story. It's called All Good Things, and it was directed by a guy named Andrew Jarecki (one of the producers of the original Catfish doc). Here's the weird part... after Robert Durst saw the movie, he personally contacted Jarecki with a plea to "tell his story" since he's never given a single interview to anyone regarding these matters. That should be your first clue to Durst's mental capacity (or maybe his ego), and it certainly struck me as odd.

In hindsight, that phone call probably wasn't a very good idea. Why would a guy who was found not guilty of murder decide to essentially reopen the story with a very smart, very famous filmmaker who just released about movie about your story? Doesn't Durst realize that Jarecki knows just as much about this story as anyone else, and probably has some pretty big questions that he wants answered? Or does he really just want to be caught and have this entire thing be over? Was the call just an act of damage control for what's left of his shelled life?

Finally... in the closing episode (and after this morning's NYT headline), the victim's families - including the Dursts - get some closure, and maybe what they wanted the most: answers

That's all I'm saying. Watch it for yourself. 

TL;DR

An absolutely fantastic docu-series about a rich guy who may or may not have killed three people. The Jinx raises the bar. 

5 of 5 Stars!

Onwards,
--Justin