Title – O.J.: Made in America (2016)
Director – Ezra Edelman (Magic and Bird: A Courtship of Rivals)
Cast – O.J Simpson, Johnnie Cochrane, Robert Shapiro, Robert Kardashian, Marcia Clark
Plot – An extensive documentary examining the life and times of O.J Simpson, America’s biggest ever sporting star who found himself becoming one of history’s most infamous figures as his court battle to get him off murder charges of his ex-wife Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman captivated the world.
“Each person who is in the limelight has an obligation to make things better for the last, the lost, the least, the left-out and the looked-over”
Review by Eddie on 05/07/2017
As a child of the early 90’s, growing up I was aware of OJ Simpson and the trial of the century, in as much as you learn to vividly recall seeing images of a glove that doesn’t fit but what I most surely wasn’t aware of was the backstory behind what made Orenthal James “Juice” Simpson the figure he was and the landscape in America that was surrounding him at the time of his trial for the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown and unfortunate bystander Ron Goldman.
An exhaustive 7 hour documentary commissioned by ESPN films and the winner of this year’s Best Documentary Feature at the Academy Awards, Ezra Edelman’s layered and insightful examination of OJ Simpson from his rise to a football god to a washed up party animal that is now still serving time for armed robbery and kidnapping, is all anyone would ever need to get a fully-fledged rundown of the history behind one of America’s greatest icon’s spectacular fall from grace.
While the story of OJ from a sporting star and a culture crossing media sensation right through to his days suited up in court would be enough to cover countless hours of fascinating viewing, one of the most impressive feats of Edelman’s documentary is the way in which he incorporates various other components into his film to give context to what was laying behind the scenes of OJ’s superstardom and the time when he was under the watchful eye of America and the world, as his trial made its way into people’s lounge rooms across the globe.
Its truly fascinating getting glimpses into OJ’s early life as he transcended race to become a favourite of American’s, both white and black and Edelman’s carefully constructed examination of the racial tension and history behind animosity between the police force in the USA (within Los Angeles in particular) and the black community ended up influencing and increasing the publics fierce following of the OJ trial.
It’s likely there will never be a sporting star like Simpson or a celebrity that had such universal pulling power over a huge collection of fans and races and it’s surely safe to say that there would never be a case like the Simpson case, which makes looking back on it all these years on as intense as it ever was. These facts make Edelman’s documentary (really a mini-series) a must watch for those both new to the case like me or for those that remember not only the Juice as an on field deity, but a man brought down from the highest highs to the lowest of lows.
Final Say –
O.J: Made in America is an absolute must watch. You need not be either a sports fan or an OJ acolyte to be pulled in and captivated by Edelman’s extensively researched and carefully put together product, that acts as not only an essential look at OJ’s life and trial but also a heartbreaking look at how the mighty can fall from great heights with a resounding crash.
5 Heisman Trophy’s out of 5