Wednesday, March 18, 2015
HBO's "The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst": did the conclusion of the film provoke the arrests?
HBO reran the entire six part series Tuesday, “The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Jinx”, by Andrew Jarecki and Marc Smerling. HBO’s main link is here.
There six chapters, mostly under an hour each: (1) “A Body in the Bay” (2) “Poor Little Rich Boy” (3) “The Gangster’s Daughter” (4) “State of Texas vs. Robert Durst” (5) “Family Values” and “6”The Second Interview”.
The series has attracted controversy because Robert Durst was arrested in a hotel in New Orleans, under warrant from the Los Angeles Police Department, Saturday, one day before the airing of the last interview. It’s also horrific that a man would have all the privileges of wealth and apparently turn out to have become a serial killer. He seemed to be prepared to live on the run and sometimes went into cross-dressing and gender bending, but only for disguise.
As the last episode ends, Durst, now 71, is talking to himself in a hotel room (is that in NYC?) and mutters “What the hell did I do? Killed them all of course.” Then the film ends.
The history starts with the disappearance of his wife in 1982, and continues with the mysterious death of a friend, Susan Berman, in Los Angeles in 2000. The last interview focuses on handwriting and misspelling similarities between two letters sent. The idea is that he could have feared she knew something about the 1982 case. When he moved to Galveston, a neighbor was murdered and dismembered, and he was acquitted in a trial in 2003, claiming self-defense.
The filmmakers take a “meta film” approach. Garecki inserts himself into the film, interviewing Durst, and often talks about the documentary process as part of the film.
The film has opened a major debate on the responsibility of filmmakers, book authors and even bloggers when they discover crimes (or real terror threats) in the course of their work.