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Five Great True Crime Documentaries - Criminal Justice News

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Criminal Justice News


Posted on: Nov 8, 2020

As the pandemic rages on, we face the harsh reality of winter. Instead of hot cocoa and eggnog with our pals at the ski lodge, we are forced back into our homes with our families/cats. How to cope? How to avoid the frozen fate of Jack Torrance in The Shining? The Criminal Justice Section is here for you with recommendations to get you through the punishing winter.

Five Great True Crime Documentaries

As Alfred Hitchcock once said, “[i]n feature films the director is God; in documentary films God is the director.” True stories, when told with skill and discretion, are more interesting than fiction. The discerning criminal attorney will not be simply titillated by these films; instead they will be moved to learn, feel and think.

  1. OJ Simpson: Made in America: While serialized as part of ESPN’s standout 30 for 30 series, Ezra Edelman’s Academy Award winning movie is better understood as a ten-hour long film about the confluence of race, crime, and celebrity. Enormous in scope but specific in detail, a masterpiece of the genre.
  2. Beware the Slenderman: Using a bizarre and terrible crime as an entry point, this film dissects the intersection of internet culture, mental illness, and the juvenile justice system.
  3. Dear Zachary: With a twist worthy of any Hollywood thriller, Kurt Kuenne’s personal and wrenching true crime tale tells a story of murder, family, and the systemic failures of the Canadian criminal justice system.
  4. Mommy Dead and Dearest: This HBO documentary tells a bonkers story of the murder of Dee Dee Blanchard. The less you know going in the better, but the film does turn heavily on Munchausen’s by Proxy.
  5. There’s Something Wrong with Aunt Diane: Telling the story of the 2009 Taconic State Parkway crash, this film leaves viewers guessing about what’s true, what isn’t, and what really happened on a tragic summer day in Washington State. 

If you would like to submit content or write an article for the Criminal Justice Section, please email Kara Sikorski at ksikorski@indybar.org.

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