It is the defining cultural tale of modern America - a saga of race, celebrity, media, violence, and the criminal justice system. And two decades after its unforgettable climax, it continues to fascinate, polarize, and even, yes, develop new chapters. Now, the producers of ESPN's award-winning "30 for 30" have made it the subject of their first documentary-event and most ambitious project yet. From Peabody and Emmy-award winning director Ezra Edelman, it's "O.J.: Made in America," a 10-hour multi-part production coming summer of 2016. To most observers, it's a story that began the night Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman were brutally murdered outside her Brentwood apartment. But as "O.J." lays bare, to truly grasp the significance of what happened not just that night, but the epic chronicle to follow, one has to travel back to a much different, much earlier origin point, at not the end, but the beginning of the 20th century, when African-Americans began migrating to California ...Written by
Simply put: this is the ultimate documentary (and not just about the O.J. case)
Watching a 7.5-hour long documentary about a case we all think we know may seem a daunting task at first, but trust me: you'll have a very hard time to resist the urge to binge watch the whole mini series once you've started. This documentary (which to me felt like a seven-and-a-half-hour feature film) is - in my humble opinion - one of the greatest achievements in American filmmaking and utterly captivating from the beginning to the end.
Where the equally brilliant but fictional series 'The Wire' took the topic of crime as a means to cast a look at all aspects and social layers of a whole city (Baltimore), 'O.J.: Made in America' examines the life and crimes of a single man (albeit one leading a very public life) to cast a very close look at American society as a whole, and the result is the most complete, in-depth analysis of the divided nation's collective psyche I have ever seen.
The portrait that emerges is so fascinating and so revealing and educational (and I hate to admit: thrillingly entertaining) that I believe this should be recommended viewing in schools and colleges across the country. And if you think: "Meh, I know that story, it's been all over the news - not interested", think again. Trust me, you do not know this story (or better: these stories). And there's a big chance you'll understand a great deal more about America once you've finished watching this masterpiece.
I know I'm dishing out superlatives here, but it's like director Ezra Edelman made the ultimate documentary - perhaps even the ultimate film. 'O.J.: Made in America' functions on so many levels; it's like watching a whole collection of films where the same protagonist inexplicably lives through a wide array of very different stories (which somehow STILL manage to end up as ONE cohesive tale). Just to give you an impression how rich this documentary is, I tried to count the stories and most dominant themes and found at least 10 (although you could probably find more):
1. There's the fascinating story of a poor kid from the ghetto rising through sheer will and enormous talent to become an American icon and superstar.
2. There's a great - and uplifting - sport story (especially for Football fans) that is usually the material of Hollywood films.
3. There's the very human drama of a genuine love story turning into an abusive relationship plagued by domestic violence.
4. There's the mesmerizing and shocking murder mystery;
5. the thrilling courtroom drama;
6. a razor-sharp satire about our and our media's unhealthy fixation on celebrities;
7. an unbelievable, surreal story of a nationwide man-hunt that gives Spielberg's 'Sugarland Express' a run for its money;
8. a close examination of the U.S. judicial system;
9. the story of the rise and the very, very steep fall of a man who had it all and lost everything;
10. an eye-opening story about race relations in America over the past 50 years
And as incredible as it may seem, those stories are all real.
The way Edelman managed to put them all together to forge this groundbreaking documentary can't be praised enough. A unique experience. 10 stars out of 10.