The Jinx: Robert Durst by Reece Guida

This HBO miniseries/documentary is probably the thing I have binge watched the most since Orange is the New Black (this is a claim that shouldn’t be taken lightly…). With HBO, you know that because of the price spike, you should be getting high quality programming; The Jinx lives up to and exceeds that expectation. As I have discussed in my last blog post, I am a self-diagnosed documentary junkie. The series format of The Jinx allows for the scope of the documentary to expand, which makes for a intricate and detailed, yet progressive plot. Every episode ended with a cliffhanger, which is a benefit normal documentaries don’t have: continued interest. Each episode, as their respective titles intimate, deals with a new development of the mystery while having the benefit of recapping the previous episodes before the title sequence. Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 5.20.50 PM

Mirroring this suspense-building trend are the building emotions that ensue: both from your unwilling attachment to Durst as well as the new pieces of evidence that led you to question said attachment. For a while Durst could have been an antihero: Naturally, you’re going to want to root for a neglected rich boy who watched his mother kill herself when Durst was a tender seven years old. Unfortunately, his damage was beyond repair: The psychological trauma triggered Durst’s unrelenting will to escape his childhood, and explains why he will do anything to ensure he isn’t ensnared by his corrupt family again.

But at the same time, this made me wonder: This documentary is not only about a complex character, but also about white privilege in America.  Though not a pleasant one, Durst’s childhood was the definition of privileged: He was born into large sums of money.

This makes me wonder? Would there even be this documentary about a black, wealthy serial killer who has evaded the law for so long? No, because this is an anomaly in our white-normative, capitalist society. Although I love the documentary for it’s incredible presentation, suspense-development, and sophistication, I am irked by how much white privilege is revealed, but not commented on. This makes me begrudgingly admit that HBO may really be the Network by and for white rich liberals.

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