Son of New York real estate king Seymour Durst, child witness of his mother’s suicide by jumping from the roof of their family home, Robert struggled with the expectation to go into the family business, wanting instead to leave the city and open a small health food store with his wife in rural New England. Eventual suspect in three murders, including that of his wife whose body has never been found, Durst was the subject of Andrew Jarecki’s 2010 film “All Good Things.” New Yorkers may remember the crimes and the stories, but I had never heard of them until watching the 2010 film. It’s a good piece of filmmaking because it draws you into an initial sympathy with the Durst character David Marks. A traumatic childhood, an overbearing and coldly unemotional family expecting Marks to follow ‘the path laid down,’ a personal desire to find some escape to something more fulfilling, an eventual reluctant return – it’s hard not to feel some empathy and wonder how different things could have been. As the film unwinds, and you begin to see how the semi-fictional Marks makes his own choices, your sympathy erodes and you’re left with conflicting factoids, hearsay, and a feeling that you don’t quite know what story to trust.
Durst saw “All Good Things” and began a dialogue with Jarecki, proposing an interview that was the genesis for “The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst.”
The series draws on interviews with family members, friends, law enforcement and legal representatives, presents the evidence, and tells the story of Durst’s early life, but the central pylon is formed by the interviews with Durst.
If you think you knew this story from prior news reports and the “All Good Things” film – “The Jinx” will shock and surprise you with new revelations, new twists, and yet more factoids, half-truths, and confusing counter-stories. Again you are left with a strong sense that you think you know what’s going on here, but then again, where’s the hard cold evidence that would lead to some kind of action?… Perhaps we’ll see – Durst is back on trial.