Behind the Curve – The Jinx (Chapter 5: Family Values) (2015)
If you haven’t been keeping up at home, know that this is the episode where things get really interesting. I don’t want to give anything away, but let’s just say that the filmmakers find something. An important something. And thank God the cameras were rolling when they found it, because they might not have been if I were making the film.
Up until the end of episode 4, The Jinx had been a fairly straight-forward, subject-driven documentary. It mainly presented the known facts behind Robert Durst’s situation and the feelings of the people around him. There was no hint of the crew appearing onscreen as characters until the very end of episode 4, when the man interviewing Durst suggests they take a break. After that, we feel focus shift in a major way that continues through the next episode. I wouldn’t say episode 5 is heavily focused on the filmmakers, but they certainly become major characters in the continuing story of Robert Durst.
We see the crew making phone calls, having meetings and reaching out to persons of interest. It’s all pretty standard stuff when it comes to making a documentary, but what’s impressive is that they had the foresight to film it all. And with pretty good audio, too.
Another large section of the episode revolves around an excursion to Time Square, which I’m almost certain was supposed to be just a B-roll shoot. However a handful of unscripted moments, where the camera and microphone were not turned off, turn that segment into an major turning point in the story.
Understand that if they hadn’t found that thing I hinted at, The Jinx could very well have been a purely subject-focused documentary. It was impossible for the filmmakers to predict that they’d have to be onscreen in the final piece. Those shots of the crew could just have been taking up space on somebody’s hard drive.
It just goes to show you: if you’re making a documentary, film absolutely everything. Film yourself. Film your friends. Film your cameraman if you can pull that off. You’ll have an obnoxious amount of footage to piece through, but you never know which bits you’ll need to pull the story together.
- Movie: Deadpool (2016) – Monday, March 7
- Game: Lego Lord of the Rings (Traveller’s Tales, 2013) – Monday, March 14
- Documentary: An Honest Liar (2014) – Monday, March 21
- Book: One Day I Will Write About This Place: A Memoir (Binyavanga Wainaina, 2012) – Monday, March 28
- Wild Card! – Monday, May 30