Between black and white are over 500 shades of grey. This is the argument of Ezra Edelman’s exhaustive cinematic thesis on O.J. Simpson; a comprehensive documentary that shows that in order to understand this, you have to understand that, and if you want to understand that, first you must get your head around the other.
A flight from London to Manhattan could be made between the opening and closing credits of O.J.: Made in America, but it delivers you to the past instead – taking every meticulous minute of its backside-testing running time to hunt for a thorough understanding of the Simpson story and its confusing, mythical place in American lore.
Edelman’s conclusion is perhaps the least startling part of this film: O.J. Simpson was clearly a bomb. The luckiest of those who came into contact with him might have had their fingers burned by the fuse. The others, though, some of which are featured in this tremendous documentary, will be chiseling shrapnel fragments of his story from their faces forever.
But why care about about a 23-year-old trial, and one that was so overwhelmingly and ubiquitously reported at the time, anyway? Edelman manages to bring fruity pulp to the juice by examining the story via an assertion made by Reverend Cecil Murray: “This was bigger than O.J. Simpson. Something larger was at stake.”
While Marcia Clarke and Christopher Darden built the people’s case against Orenthal James Simpson, Edelman chooses to magnify his lens: putting the story into historical and political context and, in turn, mounting a far larger prosecution – this time against the entire city of Los Angeles. Few are spared.
The result is a scorching and important dissertation, one that shows this American tragedy to be just another thread woven between stars and stripes and blood.
DIRECTOR: Ezra Edelman
SYNOPSIS: It is the defining cultural tale of modern America – a saga of race, celebrity, media, violence, and the criminal justice system. And two decades after its unforgettable climax, it continues to fascinate, polarize, and develop new chapters.