Directed by: Ezra Edelman
I have never liked O.J Simpson. I have think he didn’t represent black culture and made it OK to give up your roots if money and fame got you to where you wanted to be. I have extreme disdain for someone who was given constant opportunity to improve lives of others and chose not to. So I am negatively biased towards him, but that didn’t honestly effect the way that I viewed this documentary.
For those of you who don’t know. 30 for 30 is an ESPN property that does intensely detailed documentaries on sports events/ players. They’re usually great and action packed. This is no exception. They are filled with nuances and different outlooks on the situations and overall, the documentaries just give a lot of insight into the situation. I am personally a huge fan because the directors are given more free reign and make something better than the typical SPORTS!! LETS LOOK AT HIGHLIGHTS THAT ALL LOOK THE SAME each and every day. They bring something new to the table.
The cinematography is all right. I think documentaries are hindered by the fact that they have to consist of interview footage and closeups for large portions of them. It’s a bad stereotype, but I honestly don’t know what to do. This documentary shines based on those elements, though. The people that they interviewed were mostly understandable and gave interesting perspectives on the matter. I was happy to see that they did a great job, like most 30 for 30 documentaries, at bringing in people that the public hadn’t heard from like childhood best friends or managers. The interviews really fleshed out OJ’s character of being “white” in the eyes of the people.
This part didn’t get into the murder; we just met the wife at the end. It did a lot of character building and reaffirmed my position on OJ. I think it excelled at that. But I felt like this documentary could’ve been 3 parts and didn’t have to drag on like Making a Murderer or similar series that it seems to have gotten artistic influence from. I liked how it presented OJ in a more nuanced way and formed him into a real person. I just think the pacing was a little off and the docu dragged its feet whenever possible.
My only problem with the story is that it’s a little heavy handed with how it constantly affirms the fact that OJ was white. After a while, I stopped paying attention and just waited for the next segment to start. At a certain point, I realized what was happening and it felt like the director was pushing this towards an uneducated audience who couldn’t grasp the concept. I understand why it happened, but I’m still not happy with it.
Overall, I’m glad the director chose to change our idea of OJ. He wanted to challenge our opinion even if it was a little heavy handed. Will I be watching the other parts? Probably not. It’s not because it’s a bad series. I just am uninterested with the material.
Score: 7 out of 10