Doc Brings 'Trial' Back into Focus

By Lowry, Brian | Variety, June 10, 2014 | Go to article overview

Doc Brings 'Trial' Back into Focus


Lowry, Brian, Variety


Television commemorates a lot of arbitrary anniversaries, but 20 years since the start of the O.J. Simpson trial - given how vivid many of those moments remain - does seem particularly resonant, if jarring. Investigation Discovery has done the milestone justice OJ^ Trial of with "O.J. : Trial of the Century," Nicole Rittenmeyer's spare but absorbing documentary chronicling events surrounding the arrest and acquittal of the former football star, in a case that defined the celebrity trial and polarized much of the U.S. Others will surely weigh in, but ID's twohour doc fits the material like a glove.

Employing a style she has used on other films, Rittenmeyer dispenses with narration or experts, capitalizing on the rich treasure trove of video from the time to illustrate and punctuate every point. "Trial of the Century" methodically captures how the story became a "circus" almost immediately, as Fred Goldman, the father of victim Ronald Goldman, laments.

Filtered through this lens, and with the benefit of distance, parts of the trial come into greater focus. There was the sense, for example, that Simpson's note to the public was half confession, half suicide note, as he implored fans to remember "the real O. …

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