Tuesday, June 13, 2017

American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson

American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson is a miniseries all about the infamous O.J. trial of 1994.  O.J. Simpson, a famous football player was put on trial for the brutal murder of his ex-wife Nichole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, apparently a companion of Nichole's, and despite all the evidence confirming his guilt was acquitted in the "trial of the century".

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The trial was already dramatic enough material to work with, and this miniseries really was thorough and true to the real story.

I first watched this series in December I think, and re-watched it a couple times since.  My sister Katie has just started watching recently and has been freaking out about it for a couple days.  She really loves dramatic stories, particularly crimes and mysteries.  This reminded me that I never reviewed it, so here I am.

My parents and some of my siblings were around when the trial was actually going on, and it's been interesting to hear how accurate the show is and what the feelings of people who lived contemporaneously with the trial were.

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The show has garnered a lot of attention from slightly younger viewers because we don't remember waking up every day for eleven months and being blasted with O.J. news, and some people don't even know what the whole trial is even about.

Aside from the clearly very dramatic material that the show covers, it is fantastically made content with beautiful camera work and lighting.  The acting is superb on all fronts, and I was especially impressed with how similar some of the actors looked to their real life counterparts.

The series is a nonstop roller coaster of emotion, and I even second guessed myself at times.

Marcia Clark was a very well developed character who had a family she worried about and a tough job to balance.  My heart broke for her when she had to undergo such harsh treatment for her looks and general "being a woman-ness" throughout the trial.

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Chris Darden was a sympathetic character.  I felt bad for him initially when he was put on the trial because he felt that it was only due to his skin color and not based on merit.  As the trial went on, I got a little frustrated with him, particularly when he disobeyed Marcia Clark and tried the gloves on O.J.  Overall though, I liked their friendship and found them to be likable characters.

Johnnie Cochran bothered me a little bit because he didn't seem to care at all about O.J. specifically, and just wanted to get his overarching agenda across through O.J.  Right off the bat he seemed disingenuous for this reason, but he was truly a powerful speaker and very persuasive when he spoke.

My favorite moments were the parts where I gasped out loud: when the original second chair for the prosecution fainted at the beginning of opening statements; when Judge Lance Ito was thinking about recusing himself from the trial because of Mark Fuhrman's comments about his wife, etc.

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I also loved how the media circus was portrayed, and even today you can see the media sort of being it's own source of entertainment: they'll blow something out of proportion and then report on how out of proportion things have been blown.  It was fascinating to see the parallels between all those years ago and today.

To sum up, I really recommend this series.  It won't take a whole summer to watch, and it catches one's attention very quickly.  If you're in the middle of a heat wave, it might be a good day to hunker down and relive the "trial of the century."

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