When you listen to it, it’s chilling because it feels like you’re channeling something from very deep inside a person, and that while he could argue that he was sorry that he did it, the truth is he seemed to be compelled to confess. – Andrew Jarecki
IN A compelling interview with the New York Times, Andrew Jarecki, the director of HBO‘s “The Jinx,” which chronicles Robert Durst’s chilling and macabre life since the disappearance of his first wife, explains something rather phenomenal. The final audio that clearly implicates Durst in several murders, including his wife Kathie and best friend Susan Berman, for which he’s now been arrested, wasn’t found for two full years after the film was completed. The final installment aired last night and the 6-part series is absolutely spellbinding from start to finish.
Andrew Jarecki and his entire team’s masterfully woven narrative, which took immense patience, is the primary component of any artistic endeavor of lasting value, especially one that attempts to befriend, dissect and expose the character and psychosis of a murderer.
How did you feel about the timing of his arrest on Saturday night? You didn’t have any control over it, but it obviously was very beneficial with the finale airing the next night.
Jarecki: We were obviously glad that they made the arrest. We were concerned that Bob was floating around, and we knew that Bob had been upset about Episode 5. We had anticipated he would be upset about Episode 5. The truth is, we had reached out to law enforcement to try and get color about when they planned to arrest him. Because as civilians, one always assumes that law enforcement is going to move more quickly than they naturally do. We understand why they have to be cautious. We understand they have obligations that filmmakers don’t have. But we were nervous. We had security. We were in a position we had not been in before. For the first many months we were working on the film, we never felt that sense of being in jeopardy. But once that evidence was out there, and Bob knew that it was on national television, it raised a level of concern. So personally we were relieved that he was arrested when he was.
Loving a great crime story, obsessed with these characters who commit heinous acts, watching Robert Durst on camera I couldn’t help but feel from the start of “The Jinx” that Durst wanted the attention, the acknowledgement that he was worthy of it.
Something went very wrong in Robert Durst’s life, that becomes clear as you delve further into the man’s misadventures. What’s unmistakable about the obsession he has with his brother, who runs the Durst empire, is that being the oldest heir and getting overlooked ignited whatever pathology that resulted from the psychological wiring that had already shorted out.
Were you surprised by his reaction when you confronted him with the letter? He seemed to have a physical reaction — burping — before he went into denial mode.
Jarecki: One of the things that is most extraordinary about what he says in the bathroom is when he comments about the burping. My interpretation of that is he knows he’s doing it, it’s involuntary, he can’t stop himself from doing it, either when he’s nervous or when he’s emotionally wound up. So when he’s doing the postmortem in the bathroom, he remarks on it. He realizes that he was not able to control himself.
The Guardian outlines the story if you don’t know the details, with the following facts leading to one of the most surreal episodes of “The Jinx.”
Most startlingly, he was acquitted of a murder in Galveston, Texas, which took place less than a year after Berman’s death, even though he admitted that he dismembered the body and dumped the pieces in garbage bags in Galveston Bay.
Durst was living in Galveston disguised as a mute woman – because of his fears of prosecution in New York or Los Angeles or both – and the victim was a neighbour living in the same house. After his arrest, he skipped bail and shaved his head and eyebrows but was rearrested days later after being caught shoplifting a chicken sandwich in rural Pennsylvania . He had $38,000 in cash on him at the time.
This is one of those stories that even knowing the plot and the latest chapter, you’re still compelled to watch “The Jinx.”
As human beings, we’re always our own worst enemy, led to self-destruction every time by Ego.
It was the original film, All Good Things, which was ignored and panned, that compelled Robert Durst to make the fateful call to Andrew Jarecki. He wanted to tell his side of the story. …and look how that’s turning out.