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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst [Blu-ray]


(Andrew Jarecki, 2015)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Home Box Office (HBO)

Video: HBO Studios



Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 0:46:10.809  X 6 = 4 hr 39 min (279 min)

Disc Size: 33,577,168,897 bytes

Feature Size: 11,430,082,560 bytes

Video Bitrate: 26.98 Mbps

Chapters: 10 X 6

Case: Standard Blu-ray case inside cardboard slipcase

Release date: September 15th, 2015



Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 3364 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3364 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

DTS Audio Spanish 768 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit



English (SDH), French, Spanish, none





Average Episode Bitrate:



Description: Robert Durst, scion of NY’s billionaire real estate family has been accused of three murders over the past 30 years, but never convicted. Brilliant and reclusive, he has not spoken publicly – until now. HBO presents the The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst, the groundbreaking six-part series that tracks Durst's strange history against the backdrop of unimaginable wealth and privilege. Directed and produced by Andrew Jarecki and produced and shot by Marc Smerling (the Oscar® nominees behind Capturing the Friedmans), it exposes long-buried information discovered during their seven-year investigation of a series of unsolved crimes, and was made with the cooperation of the man suspected of being at its center.



The Film:

Director Andrew Jarecki — best known for the 2003, Oscar-nominated "Capturing the Friedmans," about a Long Island father and son convicted, controversially, of child molestation — has visited this material before. His 2010 theatrical feature, "All Good Things," tells Durst's story with names changed; Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst play Durst and first wife, Kathie, believed by some to have been murdered by Durst but whose body has never been found.

"The Jinx" gives Jarecki (collaborating again with writer-photographer Marc Smerling) a second swing at a story he didn't tell very well the first time. Notwithstanding a cast that also includes Nick Offerman, Kristen Wiig and Frank Langella, "All Good Things" comes off as something of a high-toned Lifetime movie, psychologically simple and conventionally constructed, a mostly chronological progression from good to weird to bad to worst. The new series, which starts in 2001 with the discovery of a headless, limbless torso floating in Galveston Bay and works backward and forward from there, is a puzzle box that gives up its secrets slowly and unpredictably.

Excerpt from LA Times located HERE

Jarecki wanted All Good Things to be a relatively balanced film, a movie that, he says in The Jinx, “Robert Durst could sit and watch and have an emotional reaction to.” He seems to have accomplished this, because soon after the film’s premiere he got a phone call from the real Robert Durst, who, for the first time, agreed to sit down and be interviewed at length. Thus was born The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst, a fascinating, unsettling six-part documentary premiering on HBO this weekend. It’s the latest true-crime story to unfold with all the narrative force—and narrative devices—of fiction. Like Serial and the riveting true-crime documentary The Staircase, The Jinx metes out information like a time-release capsule, turning each episode into a series of revelations and the audience into detectives. But The Jinx, as perhaps befits the substance of a true-crime story, has a grotty kick: Close proximity to Robert Durst is exactly as disquieting as you would expect close proximity to a probable murderer to be.

Excerpt from Slate located HERE

The Six Episodes:

A Body in the Bay

S1, Ep1
8 Feb. 2015
In 2001, a dismembered corpse is found floating in Galveston Bay, Texas.

Poor Little Rich Boy
S1, Ep2
15 Feb. 2015
Durst reveals details about his childhood including witnessing his mother's suicide.

The Gangsters Daughter
S1, Ep3
22 Feb. 2015
A tip leads a district attorney to re-open the investigation into the disappearance of Kathie Durst.

The State of Texas vs. Robert Durst
S1, Ep4
1 Mar. 2015
In 2003, Galveston, Texas, becomes a media circus as the press descends to cover Durst's trial.

Family Values
S1, Ep5
8 Mar. 2015
Family and friends of Kathie Durst continue to hunt for the truth about what happened to her.

"What the Hell Did I Do?"
S1, Ep6
15 Mar. 2015

Filmmakers spend nearly a decade investigating Robert Durst and his alleged crimes.

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.


The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst looks excellent on Blu-ray from HBO.  The six episodes of Season One (I don't know if a 'second season' is planned) are on two dual-layered Blu-ray discs. It was shot on digital and the transfer is 1080P looking as accurate to the production as one could anticipate. There are older and archival photos and video used that vary in quality but it is all acceptable looking and the modern pieces are dynamically crisp showing plenty of depth. This Blu-ray does its job very well in exporting the documentary's demonstratively tight and clean video.





















Audio :

Audio is equally as strong as the video using a DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround at 3364 kbps in 24-bit. Mostly narration and dialogue there are only a few separations. The series has a score by John Kusiak, who has composed for many documentaries and West Dylan Thordson (2009's excellent The Art of the Steal) plus throughout you can hear Daniel Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans' The Unusual and most pleasingly Glen Campbell's Galveston at the end of episode four. It all sounds perfect and there are optional subtitles. My Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked .


Extras :

No extras but the package contains a small paper with the code for a digital download version of the documentary for use with portable devices.



Wow. There is a reason this has an 8.9 rating on IMDb. I was immediately addicted to this mini-series and watched it straight through (4.5 hour's worth). The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst is probably the most fascinating documentary of its kind that I have ever seen. It stunned me. The two Blu-rays provide an excellent presentation and the package offers immense value - I give it my highest recommendation! - DON'T miss this one! 

Gary Tooze

September 5th, 2015


About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

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Gary W. Tooze






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