Ezra Edelman’s 467-minute “O.J.: Made in America” was made for ESPN’s non-fiction series “30 for 30,” but received brief theatrical runs in New York City and Los Angeles, thus qualifying it for the Academy Awards’ Best Documentary Oscar. It deservedly won the trophy, even though some scoffed that it was really a miniseries (and the Academy has ensured that this will never happen again).

You can be the judge of that when you check it out on Netflix, which, even if you think you’re not interested in this sordid saga, you absolutely should. Edelman’s film is utterly captivating. The first half charts Simpson’s rise to sports and media prominence, which is especially essential for people who weren’t around for that part of his career. Edelman adroitly demonstrates how Simpson seduced an entire nation. Unlike Muhammad Ali, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Jim Brown, Simpson wasn’t political. He viewed himself as post-racial. “I’m not Black,” he’s quoted as saying in the documentary, “I’m O.J.”

The second half peels away Simpson’s layers, bringing us to the sociopathic core of a man who believed himself above the law because he was too damn charming to get caught. And he was right, at least to a certain extent. Despite an avalanche of damning circumstantial evidence, Simpson was acquitted of murder. He was found liable during a civil trial, but this has always felt like a footnote in the Simpson story. He was still free, and he made sure we couldn’t ignore him.



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