[Ezra Edelstein] has responded with, even in the annals of ESPN’s “30 for 30” docs, what feels like a master opus… Premiering at Sundance, ESPN’s splendid five-part ‘O.J.: Made in America’ brings welcome context to the ‘trial of the century.’
I wanted to watch this miniseries about as much as I wanted to watch “Birth of a Nation.” I watched this trial every day in 1994 and spent the next 10 years fending off crazy, uninformed invective from others in grocery stores, busy sidewalks and Mensa meetings. When a neighbor watched “The People vs OJ” recently and inundated me with more simplistic commentary, and didn’t know the detailed history of how the defense dismantled the wildly mishandled evidence, I knew I was done with the rehashing and re-monetizing of all things OJ.
When a client asked me to watch it for a discussion, I resigned myself to an awful experience and loaded up my VOD watch list.
My review is much shorter than my rant. “WATCH THIS IMMEDIATELY.”
By Episode 3, I was Googling Ezra Edelman (yes, he is Marian Wright Edelman’s son and already an Emmy-winning filmmaker), trying to understand where he could have acquired such a stunning understanding of the context and nuance and complexity of race, police, celebrity and justice in America. This is an astonishing work of art that belongs in the Smithsonian. It is not about the OJ trial, it is about the entirety of the world that created OJ and in which OJ was created, set against the backdrop of that trial. By the time he finally pivots to the trial, I realized that any viewer who made it this far would be watching the trial with much of the same insight and perspective I brought to it years ago. Perhaps even my neighbor.
Thank you, Mr. Edelman.