O.J.: Made in America (2016)
Critic Consensus: O.J.: Made in America paints a balanced and thorough portrait of the American dream juxtaposed with tragedy and executed with power and skill.
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Critic Reviews for O.J.: Made in America
ESPN's ongoing 5-part, 10-hour O. J.: Made In America documentary series at first brush had the air of redundancy. Instead it's anything but.
Extraordinary on so many levels, O.J.: Made In America transcends its stated subjects and themes. It's a withering critique of self-creation, culture making, and idolatry that speaks to everyone, regardless of race.
The context explained and the depth achieved over the doc's five episodes is extraordinary, particularly in the first and the final installments.
It can blow your mind, this thorough series, as it digs deeper and deeper.
The reward will be insights into sports and celebrity, fame and sexual status, and of course, and especially, race.
Audience Reviews for O.J.: Made in America
A must-see eight-hour documentary that probes into an American crime and the cultural and social causes that made this shocking case possible. Full review on filmotrope. com
Spellbinding during every one of its mammoth 467 minutes, Ezra Edelman's five-part documentary is the definitive journalistic examination on the nexus of sports, media, race, privilege and celebrity that was the O.J. Simpson murder trial. It's also one of the greatest documentaries I have ever seen. This is a monumental artistic achievement that seamlessly blends many different story threads to present a psychological, relevant, and compelling case as to how this notable flashpoint in race relations was inevitable. Consider the eight hours a searing and engrossing psychological study of one of the twentieth century's most infamous cultural icons. The first part introduces us to O.J. the sports hero and you too may be surprised just how charming the man is, which along with his naked ambition allowed him to crossover into a primarily white business world. It's important to know the full picture of O.J., the natural star, the narcissistic showman, the jealous and cruel monster trading on his sense of entitlement and the adoration of others. Part two follows O.J.'s grievous relationship with Nicole Brown and includes haunting audio clips of her frantic domestic abuse 911 calls, which were often downplayed by an appeasing and star-struck police force. As O.J.'s career soars he shuns larger responsibility to the black community, which is routinely rattled by shocking police brutality and a sense of institutional injustice, best typified with the controversial Rodney King acquittals. Part three begins with the 1994 murders of Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman, goes into the Bronco chase, and then O.J.'s assembly of his Dream Team of lawyers. Part four is devoted entirely to the criminal trial and part five the aftermath, including O.J.'s arrogant attempts to live business as usual after becoming a pariah to millions. Edelman assembles an impressive coalition of interview subjects with startling personal revelations and sometimes shocking admissions. They all masterfully come together along with the narrative threads of the systemic history of Los Angeles police corruption and abuses, the public's insatiable appetite for celebrity and its shamefully easy tendency to forgive the famous and horrible, and racial identity to form a complex, interwoven, and mesmerizing larger picture that feels like its own multi-media academic textbook with full annotations. It feels like a five course meal. This is the kind of powerful and ruminating documentary filmmaking that illuminates our understanding of the past and our greater connections to the wider world. O.J.: Made in America flies by effortlessly, packed with rich detail and archival footage, and serves as a terrific compliment to the brilliantly entertaining FX miniseries. This is a towering achievement in documentary film and rightfully earns the title of best movie of 2016. Nate's Grade: A
Edelman recognizes that to explain the outcome of the trial one must understand both O.J. Simpson and the racial history of the United States. Both are dissected in shocking detail. As exhaustive as this examination is, 7 1/2 hours somehow doesn't seem like enough. Regardless, this should be required viewing in all high schools.
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