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Life with Murder (2010)

Not Rated | | Documentary | June 2010 (USA)
1:47 | Trailer
Chatham, Ontario, 1998. Eighteen-year-old Jennifer Jenkins is brutally shot to death by multiple rifle rounds in her family home. The main suspect: her brother, Mason Jenkins, who fled the ... See full summary »


John Kastner
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Chatham, Ontario, 1998. Eighteen-year-old Jennifer Jenkins is brutally shot to death by multiple rifle rounds in her family home. The main suspect: her brother, Mason Jenkins, who fled the scene of the crime. After fabricating a story about what occurred, Jenkins was incarcerated. His parents, facing the loss of both their children, chose to support his claims of innocence, repressing the dark secret of their son's true intentions. Concurrently shocking and heartbreaking, John Kastner's finely crafted mystery slowly reveals the many layers of a family dynamic that becomes its own enigma, drawing from a decade's worth of coverage, including police interrogation videos, home movies, and incredible interviews with Jenkins, his family, and the case's investigators. With a skillful eye that eschews sensationalism, Kastner delves beyond the details of the murder to capture the pain of paternal devotion as Jenkins' parents struggle to hold onto the last shreds of their family. Led by the ... Written by Los Angeles Film Festival

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June 2010 (USA) See more »

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Interesting but hard to watch
20 November 2016 | by pomosapienSee all my reviews

Interesting but hard to watch crime documentary that starts out with the premise of Mason Jenkins's guilt. He's been convicted and is serving his time and whatever stories he's told over the years, the possibility of his innocence isn't really on the table here. Instead, the documentary is mostly focused on the aftermath of the crime and the relationship of this eviscerated family unit.

I felt somewhat uncomfortable watching this intimate footage of his families pain. From the police interview tapes from the time of the murder to the aunt who wants to support the parents but can't condone their frankly desperate support for their son. Its just hard to watch the two parents clinging to the idea of a family their son already effectively stole from them. The visits in the sad little prison house illustrate this perfectly; it's not a real home the relationships are a performance and murdered Jennifer is conspicuously absent. It's an interesting contrast that the prison guard who has no such emotional investment in Mason's innocence has no time for his lying.

As for the killer himself, I have to say he's frustratingly banal. Not very bright, not ready to take on the mantle of guilt but not able to lie convincingly either. He comes across as a big fat adult baby- childishly dependant on his parents yet frustrated by their enmeshment, narcissistically selfish like a toddler. I feel he can't admit to the murder because of the narcissistic blow that would be to his ego, he'd risk losing the support of his parents upon whose approval he seems dependant. They need him to be their child so they can cling to the family unit idea and he can't handle the withdrawal of their approval so they're all trapped and can only sneak up on the truth in tiny slow steps. The truth being that their son is a killer who feels no real love or respect for them. I can't help but wonder what signs might have been ignored during his upbringing that let him turn into such a monster.

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