2020, TV

Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez (2020)

This is a frustrating but also fascinating brief documentary series about Aaron Hernandez the NFL tight end who was convicted of murdering one person, charged with murdering two others, and credibly accused of shooting at least one other person. I paid no attention to this at the time so much of this was new to me, which is probably why I feel like I can forgive some of its issues.

This is not the most well made documentary series you are going to see. Though ostensibly told in chronological order – there is a timeline on the screen! – the show jumps around in time throughout the firs two episodes in particular. There doesn’t seem to be any method to the madness except, I guess, for some idea of foreshadowing. Supposedly the big get for this documentary was the phone recordings, so the recordings pop in and out seemingly at random, as do a whole host of talking heads, some of whom you can’t quite figure out why they’re relevant. (A better documentary would present the theories as to why Hernandez did what did in a coherent manner, rather than completely arbitrarily.) There is lots of material here that is good, but it feels pretty scattershot. This documentary needs a better editor.

Things improve in the third episode only because they are forced to – they can no longer jump around in time any more, so the story forces a more coherent edit on the filmmakers. I liked the final episode so much more I almost bumped up my rating a notch.

The material is compelling if you don’t know the story, as it’s a pretty crazy story – a football prodigy that was abused as a child, who was probably in the closest and who, of course, had tons of concussions, basically lost his mind. And a well-edited two hour film about his life and what he did might be quite good. But a nearly 3-and-a-half hour miniseries with poor editing is another story. I liked the 3rd episode in which the NFL is called to account for its role in this, but I found the first two extremely frustrating despite how interested I was.


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