The Internet Is Very Confused and Unhappy With Casting JonBenét
I'm so glad I'm not alone with all these Casting JonBenét feels. I finished the documentary, thinking only, "What the hell did I just watch?"
The documentary seemed more meta than an actual analysis of the JonBenét Ramsey case. I understand that creator Kitty Green was attempting a commentary on the fallout from the case and the lasting impression it left on the public, but I spent an hour and a half of my life watching random people commenting on a case. And, though some of them were loosely connected to the family, they still knew about as much as I did when it came to the circumstances and evidence surrounding the murder.
Furthermore, the whole idea of the show was about finding actors to do reenactments of the events on the night JonBenét was killed, but the documentary spent most of its time focusing on the actors who could play the parents and mulling over the same tired questions followers of the case have been asking for two decades now: Was Patty jealous of her daughter? Is a mother capable of murdering her daughter over said jealousy? Was John Ramsey molesting his daughter? Was the family allowing someone else to molest their daughter? Or was it the son, who let a fight with his sister get out of hand?
Instead of peppering in some actual commentary along the way to spice things up, the documentary relies on the backstories of the auditioning actors to fill in the lulls, giving way to some weird parallels and just plain weird stories that made me think producers probably auditioned hundreds of people and just chose to show us the 10 weirdest ones that walked into the room.
For example, one gentleman auditioning decided to tell everyone about his job teaching about sex and bondage in the evenings. He even showed off his floggers for the cameras and candidly expressed his love of nipple play.
Another man, aka Santa Claus No. 3, thought it was important to explain that Santa wears white gloves so it's easier to see where his hands are traveling on children.
The documentary spends very little time on the kids auditioning for JonBenét and her brother, probably because these little ones weren't even near being born when JonBenét was killed and, therefore, couldn't really add to the documentary discussion except to innocently ask, "Do you know who killed JonBenét Ramsey?"
I actually really appreciated the ending of this documentary. It was haunting the way so many different possible scenarios were played out with all of the actors simultaneously.
I would have liked to have seen more of this and less of the actors talking about their personal theories.
Instead of being a discussion of the JonBenét Ramsey case, this documentary played more like a discussion of our cultural obsession with the story and how the discussion has been elevated from fact to myth at this point.
It also served as quite the statement that we will most likely never, ever know what really happened to that little girl. To me, that's the most poignant message of the whole thing.