The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst (2015)

When Andrew Jarecki released his six-part documentaries The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst on HBO back in 2015, it was almost like a revelation.

While a lot of true-crime documentaries were released prior, you can feel that there is something compact and unique by how the whole thing was assembled. It moved and breathe like a good piece of investigative journalism, fueled by a reporter’s loyalty to his story.

It was 2010 when the director Andrew Jarecki started working on the documentary. He has just released his film All Good Things, about a man (played by Ryan Gosling) suspected as the man behind her wife’s (Kirsten Dunst) sudden disappearance. The film was not a favorite by many viewers, except one who dared to call Jarecki to share his reaction: Robert Durst.

The story of Robert Durst, whose wife Kathe’s mysterious vanishing remained unsolved, is the inspiration for All Good Things. His acquaintance with Jarecki has prompted the creation of The Jinx. While not the most impressive crime drama, All Good Things turned out to be a great supplemental to Jarecki’s observation of Durst in The Jinx.

At first sight, Durst can be enigmatic. There is something uneasy about him, it’s hard to pin down what it meant. The body language can be revealing, but it’s just hard to assume. Is he telling a lie when he repetitively burps at crucial moments? How about the fact that he always blinks his eyes? These small observations make the most crucial chunks of The Jinx.

While filming the documentary, it can be assumed that Jarecki wants his audience to play jury after watching the episodes. Did Robert Durst actually murdered her wife, including the other two people who were brutally killed?

Jarecki and his team’s knack for telling their investigation is impressive. The show felt like a high-value primetime drama, each episode ending with mandatory cliffhangers to glue you for the next one. But what will stick you the most is Durst, whose willingness to do media interviews are slim, allowed Jarecki as well as the audiences to pick up any possible hints to his alleged involvement of the crimes.

What The Jinx has achieved and will always be known for is its ending. Without spoiling any, the closing scene of the series is a checkmate to Durst, turning the mystery into either reduced to slim or magnified for ambiguity.

The Jinx, like how good investigative journalism should operate, opens the doors for these type of deducing. Nothing comes close.

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