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Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel: Season 1 (2021)
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An interesting story not of a crime itself but all the issues around it.
Berlinger takes us into the actual experiences of those on the internet trying to solve the mystery on their own, turning the series into more than simply a mystery but a kind of cautionary tale...
Its length and the air of mystery it cultivates until the final half-hour are gratuitous. But amid a lot of sensationalism, there are some compelling stories -- they're just not related to the tragic death of Elisa Lam.
The truth, once revealed, was extraordinarily sad, and didn't even involve a 'crime scene' as such. This was exploitative. Of us, and of her. But now I've watched it so you don't have to. I am good like that.
Berlinger somewhat overdoes it with the creepy dramatic re-enactments, but Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel benefits from a raft of solid talking heads and a central whodunit that proves continually intriguing.
The Vanishing At The Cecil Hotel ends up being a tragedy wrapped in a mystery shoehorned into paranormal nonsense. Netflix is notorious for not releasing data on whether its viewers finish its content, but in this case, it probably should.
Less a whodunit or a what-happened, Vanishing is most valuable as an indictment of the cloud of online conspiracy theories and rumor-mongering that have gotten our nation into deep trouble in recent years.
The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel is an overblown and overlong four-parter (despite pedigree background, it repeated itself and often deliberately withheld info) that shows, if nothing else, the size of the Google rabbit hole.
Crime Scene is beautifully shot and structured so uniquely that it almost feels like an actual suspense/thriller movie rather than a documentary.
Crime Scene works to logically and painstakingly explain away the internet's largest points of contention with the investigation, and thus lends a sense of closure and finality to the case.
It's bad. And not just bad. Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel is bloated, dull and confusing. It's irresponsible and dishonest, indulging conspiracy theories that put already vulnerable victims at further risk.
Audience Reviews for Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel: Season 1
Apr 06, 2021A lot of unnecessary content that you'll have to fast forward in order to get to the interesting parts.
Mar 26, 2021Starts off as an engaging documentary about a genuinely mysterious disappearance. About half-way through it runs out of substance and tries to fill the gaps with wild speculation from a bunch of internet gossips. Unfortunately "What if..." isn't an argument, and "I don't understand why..." doesn't mean anything more than you don't understand (it's not a licence to fill the gaps with whatever guess most appeals to you). This is a pretty recent and very sad set of events. There is, admittedly, something pretty voyeuristic about this sort of documentary in the first place. That said, this felt pretty tasteless even for what it was. Even if you can live with the tone, it's simply not interesting to listen to some internet fantasist who thinks they live in a Dan Brown novel.
Mar 23, 2021Ranges from sloppy to sensationalist to extremely disrespectful and unethical. From interviewing random YouTubers and Journalists about their thoughts and conspiracy theories on the topic to recreating the scene of Lams body floating in the water, this project is sickening.
Mar 19, 2021Sometimes a guilty pleasure is just guilty. This show encapsulates much of what can go so wrong in the true crime genre: valuing little narrative thrills and gimmicks over an actually responsible, clear-eyed analysis and reliance on facts. Tawdry.
Mar 16, 2021I can't believe this is the same person who made the amazing "Paradise Lost" documentaries. The director has no idea what he wants this documentary to be about and makes anyone who watches the full four hours suffer for it. The evils of social media? A tragic story of mental illness? Haunted hotel? If all of them, he does a terrible job showing how they're related. A full two hours are wasted delving into what a bunch of online "sleuths" think happened: All of whom wind up being wrong, so why did we spend two hours listening to them? There's an interesting one hour documentary in there somewhere, but not worth sorting through to find it.
Mar 13, 2021Great subject matter but poorly executed and quite distasteful towards Elisa's memory and her family who are still alive. I don't know what is more boggling, the circumstances surrounding Elisa's death or the dumb YouTubers who went investigating at the hotel, and possibly ending up the same way. Whoever that hasn't watched this would do better to read about it online. All of that said, I hope Elisa Lam has found peace and that her family are doing okay.
Mar 12, 2021I thought it was quite interesting. It wasn't what I thought it would be, but I thought it was fascinating how the social web part of it unfolded, and proved how insanely obsessed people could get by trying to create a story out of the case that wasn't there - for someone they don't even know. People who wanted accountability became quite unaccountable for their reckless actions and accusations, particularly regarding the accusation of the music artist whose life was nearly ruined. I do wish they had explored the more supernatural side of the hotel's history, and how it might have caused a mental breakdown for Elisa.
Mar 11, 2021The story is compelling on it's own, the how, the what, the why all still really unanswered. No matter what that bogus coroners report says, there a part where they just gave up and said accidental because of incompetence or just laziness. If the city wanted to know what happened they would, just throw some competent people at it and BAM solved. But as it is, we will never know what really happened at that hotel. We should have gotten a show that explains more and tastelessly reenacts less. The story is enough to make anything said about it interesting and yet, somehow, this lost my interest very early on. I only kept watching because I was hoping for some revelation or insight that I did not already have that would never come. Poor directing and filmmaking, such a disappointment.
Mar 07, 2021It's okay. Drags on abit especially when you clock onto the bits where they really focus on social media conspiracies. By the end it appears more of a documentary about how the world of social media riles peoples minds up over nothing rather than focusing more on the tragic story of a troubled girl.
Mar 05, 2021Too much hotel, not enough vanishing.