Making a Murderer–A Compelling Netflix Documentary

Making a Murderer

Making a Murder is a Netflix documentary that was filmed over 10 years following the case of a wrongly accused man who spent 18 years in prison, and who shortly after his release (when DNA tests exonerated him), was arrested for murder–apparently framed by the police.

This is the most compelling documentary I have ever seen. I watched most of series 1 in one sitting because I simply couldn’t stop watching it (but finally had to stop because I could no longer stay awake).

Way better than ‘reality tv’. Way better than professionally produced crime dramas. The twists and turns never stop–and yet this is real life, real people, real court proceedings.

It chronicles a corrupt justice system and police department in addition to the influence of media. At least that’s how it rolls off so far. I don’t now how many times my jaw dropped watching this. It appears to be a frame job, but despite all evidence submitted in that regard up to the point I’ve watched it, I’m guessing he’ll be convicted again regardless.

Now what’s all this to do with this blog?

In the book Run and Gun Videography–The Lone Shooter’s Survival Guide, I talked a lot about message being the overriding fundamental in any artistic production, film and video included. I also talked about the subject of technical perfection being junior in importance to getting the message across. So much so that in deciding as an editor if a flawed shot should be used or not, the answer to the question is whether or not it will detract from the message and throw the audience out of the story.

Early on in this series I noticed how rocky some of the hand-held camerawork was. This was not any kind of deliberate ‘technique’. It’s just that these cameramen were shooting everything hand-held with big Sony Betacam cameras, even from inside cars bouncing around on dirt roads. There was some pretty rough stuff.  BUT, the story was so compelling that it didn’t matter one bit. Furthermore, it was so well put together in terms of editing and the message was so loud and clear (and compelling), that there wasn’t any technical flaw that was going to throw me out of that story.

Some of the close-ups of people were simply jaw-dropping in terms of raw emotion. These weren’t actors. These were real people caught up in a horrible situation–guilty and not guilty alike.

Highly recommended as a study of run and gun camerawork–because that’s exactly what it was.


2 responses

  1. Howdy, As a Wisconsinite, there’s an extra dimension of buzz about this here. And having watched a couple episodes so far, I too find it very well done…pacing and structure very impressive. But perhaps because it’s more local..there are also critiques to be had. A couple links that might be of interest as counterpoint..since what’s edited out or not captured can be just as if not more important than what’s left in.

    Date: Mon, 11 Jan 2016 12:19:01 +0000 To:


    • Hi Rich, I read the first one. While it’s quite true that anyone can create a documentary or news report to forward an agenda regardless of the facts and make it totally believable, even the first article there didn’t totally and accurately represent facts by including alleged incidents as ‘fact’. So they pulled the same stunt. And that’s why this series is so compelling. In all fairness, police, victims, the accused and justice officials are all faithfully recorded on video tape. Their own words. Their own emotions, expressions, reactions and even their own illegal activities (such as repeated police and other investigator interviews on video that show the process of intimidating and coercing confessions by planting the seeds in the minds of simple people who are afraid and don’t understand what is happening and what they’re supposed to say). It is just as obvious that the police have some things to hide and have banded together to protect themselves (which is understandable to a point) In my opinion, when the might of the state or any government is thrust against an individual, the individual will lose. It has happened time and time again throughout history. It is probably more rare that an innocent citizen accused by the state wins than loses. It’s like a big bully versus a 90 pound weakling. Usually the little guy crumples. Only rarely do the tables get turned on the bully. So I will always give the benefit of the doubt to the citizen, not the state. And in this case, since we have so much footage and so many recordings of the actual events, it’s hard to argue with what you see in front of your own eyes. It might not be easy to figure out what is wrong or who is hiding what, but in this case, the State clearly has something to hide. It may never be all explained and the judge may give the benefit of doubt to law enforsement (whereas justice is supposed to be blind), but nobody’s perfect and that’s why this story is so compelling. Personally, I wouldn’t trust the State or the Media. Ever. Just watch the eyes of the people. They tell a lot–as do all the bizarre inconsistencies being uncovered by those two attorneys who, as brilliant as they are, are also most likely going to be crushed under the might of the State. IMHO.
      P.S. Keep watching it Rich. You ain’t seen nothing yet! I understand your position as a Wisconsite. But I’m an American too. I have national pride and don’t like to think justice can be so bad. But rarely has there been an opportunity to see it unfold in front of your eyes so that you can make up your own mind rather than being educated by the media who also have their masters.


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