HBO is getting into the serialized true crime game with its new documentary "The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst," and it could turn out to be the darkest the genre has to offer. Simply put, if you liked 2014's hit podcast "Serial" - or the lesser-known and fantastic docu-series "The Staircase" - this is right up your alley.
“The Jinx” looks at the life of Durst, the eccentric son of NYC real estate mogul Seymour Durst linked to a couple of disturbing unsolved crimes, which director Andrew Jarecki (“Capturing the Friedmans”) examines over six episodes. “Did Durst do it?” is the pretense of “The Jinx,” but there’s more to it.
Jarecki directed “All Good Things” (starring Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst) in 2010, which was inspired by the 1982 disappearance of Durst’s wife Kathleen — the most infamous of the crimes he’s implicated in.
Jarecki had done years of research on Durst before the film, but after its premiere he received the opportunity to see it from a new perspective. Durst called Jarecki and said he’d like to tell his side of the story.
After 20 hours of interviews with the reclusive Durst (and more with concerned parties involving Kathleen’s disappearance and other crimes), “The Jinx” presents two very compelling — and frightening, at times — opening episodes. The most captivating material revolves around Durst, a very strange man whose demeanor and past sure make him seem guilty.
There is a lot of information presented in an addictive “Serial”-esque narrative that gives viewers the foundation of the investigation, but leaves many questions unanswered … for now.
There are sure to be some “twists” coming up in later episodes, and I hope that comes from Jarecki pushing Durst with tough questions.
“The Jinx” could end without a definitive answer, much like “Serial” and “The Staircase.” That seems to be how most “unsolved” true crimes go. Even if that’s the case, watching the “Life and Deaths of Robert Durst” unfold is absolutely engrossing. And completely terrifying.
[photo courtesy of HBO]