O.J.: Made in America (2016)
- Summaries (2)
A chronicle of the rise and fall of O.J. Simpson, whose high-profile murder trial exposed the extent of American racial tensions, revealing a fractured and divided nation.
It is the defining cultural tale of modern America - a saga of race, celebrity, media, violence, and the criminal justice system. And two decades after its unforgettable climax, it continues to fascinate, polarize, and even, yes, develop new chapters. Now, the producers of ESPN's award-winning "30 for 30" have made it the subject of their first documentary-event and most ambitious project yet. From Peabody and Emmy-award winning director Ezra Edelman, it's "O.J.: Made in America," a 10-hour multi-part production coming summer of 2016. To most observers, it's a story that began the night Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman were brutally murdered outside her Brentwood apartment. But as "O.J." lays bare, to truly grasp the significance of what happened not just that night, but the epic chronicle to follow, one has to travel back to a much different, much earlier origin point, at not the end, but the beginning of the 20th century, when African-Americans began migrating to California en masse, in desperate, collective hope of a better life, trying desperately - and fruitlessly - to outrun the racism that had defined their lives. And among the thousands who came west from the south were the grandparents of Orenthal James Simpson. The tale is familiar from there. In the mid-1960's, Simpson rose to instant fame as an unstoppable running back for the USC Trojans, and later, not just a record-setting Hall of Famer in the NFL, but a crossover, charismatic superstar with a singular foothold in the celebrity landscape. In retirement, O.J. remained as popular as any active athlete - a broadcaster, pitch-man, and actor. But he stood alone for another reason as well. Living in the shadows of everything from the Civil Rights Movement to the Rodney King riots and so much in between, in a country forever divided by racial lines and a city with a horrific legacy of institutionalized police racism, O.J. Simpson managed always to find a way to transcend the color of his skin. That is, until everything changed on that June night of 1994. "O.J." revisits - and redefines - it all. The domestic abuse. The police investigation. The white Bronco chase. The trial of the century. The motive, the blood, the glove. The verdict. The aftermath. Drawing upon more than seventy interviews- from longtime friends and colleagues of Simpson to the recognizable protagonists of the murder investigation to observers and commentators with distinct connections to the story - the docu-event is an engrossing, compelling, and unforgettable look at a tantalizing saga. Because at the end of what seems like a search for the real truth about O.J. Simpson, what's revealed just as powerfully is a collection of indelible, unshakeable, and haunting truths about America, and about ourselves.
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