Warning: If you live under a rock, this review may contain spoilers!
If you're like me, you find serial killers as fascinating as they are disturbing. We always find ourselves asking "how" or "why?" In this case, I also found myself asking "who?" I had never heard of Robert Durst, not of his birthright nor murderous legacy. But thanks to HBO Go, I learned over the course of two nights who Robert Durst is. The Jinx is a documentary broken up into a six part miniseries written by Andrew Jarecki (who not only directs Jinx, but also the feature film based on Durst, All Good Things), Marc Smerling and Zachary Stuart-Pontier. Not only is The Jinx a well thought out, brilliantly shot and executed doc for lovers of the genre, it's also perfect for people who find themselves typically unable to sit through them.
The episodes (called chapters) last only 45 minutes and are composed in such a clever, unique way utilizing interviews, archived footage, pictures from evidence and stylized reenactments. Every chapter focuses on a different element in Durst's life. Chapter 1 gives you a briefing of the whole Robert Durst story. Chapter 2 details his childhood and family life which segues into the disappearance of his wife Kathleen Mc Cormack. In chapter 3 we learn more about the murder of his best friend Susan Berman. Chapter 4 then visits, in full detail, the trial for the murder and dismemberment of his Galveston neighbor Morris Black. When we get to chapter 5, Jarecki and crew go with Robert Durst on a little excursion to "meet" the Durst family. And then lastly, the infamous "confession" episode, chapter 6. Which, regardless of what you've already read or heard about it, is still a total shock to watch play out and will chill you to the bone.
As you make your way thought each chapter you may find yourself wondering how this clearly insane, methodical killer has manged to get away with murder on three separate occasions. But when you get to chapter 4, you begin to see how. Firsthand you'll witness the effect he has on people. There's something about Robert Durst if you can get past his eerie shark-like eyes, dead stare and seemingly nervous ticks . Almost like a creepy, yet charming uncle that you only have to deal with at family gatherings on major holidays. In fact, you may find yourself almost questioning if he really did kill all three individuals. Some of the filmmakers themselves seem to buy into his appeal; Andrew Jarecki was actually unbiased at the beginning of the documentary and just wanted to learn more about Durst from the man himself, and as the doc goes on, he seems to feel as though Durst is a friend.
Each episode will have you agape at least once during that 45 minutes you're drawn into the lurid and bizarre world of Robert Durst. For me personally, being Texan especially, chapter 4 was the hardest to watch. If your DVR is full of episodes of 48 hrs, Murder Book, Most Evil or any shows of that nature, then you most definitely won't want to miss The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst. All six chapters are currently available to watch on HBO Go.