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  1. #1

    Default Netflix Original - Casting JonBenet

    This popped up new on Netflix this morning and I've just finished watching it. The premise is that actors from the Boulder area are auditioning for parts in a dramatisation of the case, and they are all being interviewed about their thoughts, how they personally feel about the case and the characters they're playing, and what they think happened. It's very interesting, not to mention uncomfortable in places. It doesn't give any new insight into the case or anything, but it's a fascinating watch. For a fairly short documentary, it covers a lot.

    Also, hi, I know it's been a while but I do look in from time to time!

  2. #2


    Let’s see . . .
    Scarifier, thank you for starting a thread on this. I know there will be plenty of film critics and regular folks who will appreciate the film for its interesting use of non-professionals, giving voice to a variety of opinions, pointing to a conclusion that no one knows who killed JonBenét. It is like a ‘meta’ documentary film giving the reaction of many specifically in and around Boulder, deriving theories from the tabloids’ judgments which varied from month to month. From that standpoint, it is an unusual tack which some have found thought-provoking and creative.

    Netflix characterizes it as something more than the actors auditioning for a part: In that sense, Casting JonBenét is as much about performance as it is about our obsession with a gruesome, 20-year-old murder. Green does not mock her subjects, or their interest in JonBenét—but her film still has a troubled air to it, hinting at a darkness that perhaps all people possess, lying just beneath our socialized selves. Funny, cringe-y, and a little unnerving, Casting JonBenét is a unique wonder.

    Of course, Netflix is promoting the movie they purchased.

    From my own perspective, I was sorely disappointed in various aspects of this fictionalized review of the case. IMHO, the exposure of the Santa Claus theory was a sad decision on the part of the filmmaker. She (Kitty Green, the filmmaker) had no understanding of what the insertion of Santa into the story meant. Green apparently was not aware how Santa Bill and his family suffered because of the insinuation from the Rs and the pathological pursuit by DA ML. She likely did not know that these inferences destroyed the happiness of a family. Had the filmmaker read the interview (about Santa) between DA ML, her co-interviewer DS (who interviewed BR) and the Rs, it wouldn’t have taken any time at all to perceive what the homophobic innuendos from the Rs were. The comments should have alerted this DA that the Rs’ responses pointed to a slimy act of throwing an innocent party under the bus. Instead, the Santa theory became this DA’s top theory until she discovered JMK. Just because a theory was out there, should it have been repeated in a film? FW might be able to answer that question.

    One might argue in the filmmaker’s defense that it was a story about the consumers of the story and captures their impressions and viewpoints. The film does not need to adhere to any ethics of truth telling. Neither the facts of the GJ indictment nor the new analysis of the DNA are apparently important, since it’s a ‘fictionalized’ documentary.

    Yet I still think of those who were harmed. There are many folks who experienced this story from a personal standpoint (detectives, personal friends, neighbors, those who had been accused of involvement). They witnessed the abominable application of a justice system which Boulder can still not live down. Even with a solid DA, justice has been thwarted and lost.

    These were real people who lost careers and reputations over this case. I recall a scene in the movie Titanic, in which the aged Rose points out to those listening to her story, how many people died in the Titanic disaster, how many relatives lost loved ones. She tells this group who were looking for excitement or treasure, the Titanic story is greater than that which later observers grasp.

    Perhaps it’s just too late for someone like me to find value in a fictionalized documentary or any fictionalized books about the case for that matter. I remember the reaction of FFJ members lamenting the publishing of JR’s book from 2012, TOSOS. It’s just one more piece of fiction leaving us in a prison of unresolved justice. Or to quote Cherokee’s observations about this -“We can never be free of JonBenet's death, for it has affected every one of us. We can never be free from knowing we've witnessed an evil that cannot be undone.”

    Well these are only my thoughts and maybe others have a different appreciation of Casting JonBenét than I. If there would be some good to come out of this film, it might be for authorities in Boulder to acknowledge that the story is not over. I personally liked Prendergast’s suggestion at the end of last year. Perhaps a first step might be to allow the other GJ information or other charges not voted up or down to be revealed.

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