A few years ago, I watched a movie called All Good Things. The movie starred Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst, and looked promising but eerie. The story was inspired by the story of real estate tycoon, Robert Durst, and his volatile relationship with his first wife, Kathleen Durst. Their relationship came to an end when Kathleen disappeared in early 1982. Durst has since then been connected to numerous murders, but has never served any significant amount of time.
Early this year, HBO released a documentary miniseries titled The Jinx. The series investigates the disappearance of Kathleen Durst, the 2001 murder and dismemberment of Mr. Durst’s neighbor, Morris Black and finally, the 2000 execution-style murder of the Dursts’ good friend, Susan Berman, who is believed to have information about Kathleen Durst’s disappearance.
The documentary series has been what has brought the infamous murder suspect kicking and screaming back into the spotlight. The Los Angeles prosecutor only reopened their case after Mr. Durst wanted to be interviewed by the creators of The Jinx and All Good Things, Andrew Jarecki, Marc Smerling, and Zachary Stuart-Pontier. Durst agreed to be interviewed as a response to All Good Things.
He was arrested in New Orleans this past Saturday and charged with the murder of Susan Berman.
The Jinx is a true crime story. The visual of Robert Durst sitting down with Andrew Jarecki is bizarre and creepy. Durst himself isn’t large or menacing; he’s slight and old. He had a hard childhood. His mother died when he was seven years old in a reported fall from the roof of their home. In the series, Durst muses that she might have committed suicide. Some of the most beautiful pieces of the film are the photos of Durst with his first wife, Kathleen. The voiceovers of Kathleen reading her diary are powerful and moving, and there’s a certain tenderness that comes over Robert Durst when he talks about Kathie. It’s hard to believe that this man could have killed his wife and two others, based solely on the interviews. But then I remembered that Durst had instigated this contact with the filmmakers–and for what purpose? To prove his innocence. To tell his story.
It’s the interviews with friends and family that really tell the true story: that Robert Durst had a violent temper, became increasingly controlling and that Kathie Durst feared for her life.
The day after Durst’s New Orleans arrest, The Jinx aired their finale. In the episode, Durst is heard muttering to himself, “What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course.”
You can watch the entire first series of The Jinx on HBO Go.