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"Juror Number 5"

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Oddly enough, a wealth of first-rate documentaries also spend the week worrying about ideas of manhood. There is, for instance, the manhood of O. J. Simpson, as seen by Juror Number 5 (Tuesday, June 1; 10 to 11 p.m.; HBO). Deena Mullen, a half-Greek, half-Italian lighting designer, spent 58 days listening to testimony at the 1996 civil trial; looking at crime scene and autopsy photographs; taking notes and making sketches of shoes and stab wounds and DNA strands; trying on the bloody gloves; concluding that the football star had, indeed, cut off Nicole's head, and, in passing, stabbed Ron Goldman to death; going for a while after the verdict on the TV talk-show circuit; deciding that in some strange way she had become "the keeper of the horror"; and mounting the theatrical monologue which -- along with trial footage, "creative reenactments," and fancy F/X footwork by documentarians Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato -- is the basis of this absorbing, creepy hour. Much as there is to object to in the tarting up of a murder case as performance art, Mullen is not to be doubted in her sharp intelligence, honest outrage, and idiosyncratic originality. She is especially obsessed with the size of O.J.'s head and hands.


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