O.J.: Made in America (Ezra Edelman, 2016)

What's it about? You remember O.J. Simpson, of course? The all-American sports hero and celebrity who ended up on trial for the murder of his wife in one of the most high profile criminal cases of all time? No? Well, you will after watching this superb documentary about his rise and fall.


Is it any good? Absolutely. An enthralling portrait of a deeply troubled man, a man whose trajectory was shaped by sport, media, celebrity, success, race and, ultimately, his own demons. The array of talking heads from Simpson's life and plentiful archive footage are assembled with clarity and purpose to fascinating and at times deeply shocking effect as it builds to the night of the murder and the circus that followed. Such is the volume of material featuring Simpson in various roles over the years, it doesn't even matter that he himself declined to contribute his version of events to the film. But the extra, and very necessary, layer here is that it is also a enthralling portrait of a deeply troubled city, laying out how the racial divides of LA and its preoccupation with celebrity were such key influences on Simpson himself and particularly on the outcome of the trial. Only by understanding the context can we appreciate how things panned out, something the film does brilliantly. Even if you remember the events form the time, the footage, interspersed with analysis and reminiscences from several of those involved, remains an essential commentary on race, media and the criminal justice system in the US. It's almost 8 hours long, but set aside some time for it; every minute is worth it.

Anything else I should know? Winner of Best Documentary Oscar this year, making it the longest film ever to win an Academy Award. Some misgivings over its inclusion, though, as it was made as a five-part mini-series for ESPN's 30 for 30 series, meaning it's more of a TV show. No matter, the episodic format means you can digest it more easily in sections rather than all at once. For UK readers, it's currently available on BBC iPlayer, so you've no excuses.

What does the Fonz think? Making of a Murderer

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