“Casting JonBenet” Scratches the Surface Of Being Interesting



Title: Casting JonBenet
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Posted May 5, 2017 by

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The JonBenet Ramsey murder case is one of the most terrifying in the fact that the victim was a six year old girl and the case, twenty-one years later, remains unsolved. If you’ve even heard a bit about the case (which everyone has at this point) you have your theories: it was the parents, it was at least one of the parents, it was her older brother, and it definitely wasn’t John Mark Karr but that doesn’t make him any less creepy. Cases like this that don’t have a definite answer as to who did it spark the interest of the public and everyone takes their turn at being an amateur detective; not hesitating to throw out their own theory. Such are the people highlighted in Kitty Green’s documentary “Casting JonBenet”. Getting residents of Boulder, Colorado to come in and audition for the dramatization half of this film, Kitty interviews this cast of colorful people and gets their answers on what may have happened that night, ultimately shooting multiple endings based on what they theorize.

The documentary blends auditions, interviews, and reenactments of what happened that night but doesn’t seem to fully commit to any. It toes the line of being interesting and reexamining the case, but right when I was getting invested, it would switch gears and pace of the film would slow to a halt. It was interesting to hear from the people that lived in Boulder, Colorado at the time of the murder and hear what they thought about the family they all knew, but that begins to wear off when you realize that the case that you’re interested in hearing about only serves as a plot point and doesn’t get fully examined. That’s not the fault of director Kitty Green; I was just under the assumption that this documentary would be something it wasn’t. What it did effectively accomplish was making me look elsewhere for more information on the case and watch documentaries that followed their theory to a conclusion.

Because this film focuses so heavily on the residents of Boulder and their dream of being in a film based around this sensational case, it might have been more effective to save the reenactments until the very end, but their auditions are spliced in between their interviews and the whole flow of the documentary just felt off to me. It’s just that constant feeling that you’re about to get what you want out of this movie and then it pulls back. That’s what kept me from really loving this.

If you’re looking to hear about the case and dive headfirst into what may have happened, this isn’t the documentary for you. If you want to hear what other civilians thought may have happened and get a glimpse into what makes them want to be an actor, then this documentary is one you should definitely watch. There’s one guy in this movie that stood out who is a sex instructor. He brings out whips and tells the film crew how to use them effectively and then demonstrates his techniques. He’s an odd guy that appears at the beginning of the film and then disappears altogether. His story would be an interesting one to follow, but much like with the actual case, we get a fleeting glimpse and then it’s gone.

“Casting JonBenet” is currently streaming on Netflix.




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