‘Making A Murderer Part 2’ Is Full Of Riveting Family Drama But Light On Answers [Review]

If you watch “Making a Murderer” looking for answers, you should know by now that you’ve come to the wrong place. The first season of Netflix’s cultural phenomenon was, on the surface, all about answers. Or the lack thereof. Or the search for them. But, over the course of the 10 episodes, which premiered in 2015, answers are few and far between. Of course, this is exactly what makes the show so appealing. There are so many questions — about the horrific murder of Teresa Halbach, the details that don’t add up, and about Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey — and so few solutions. On top of that, the answers that do surface tend to contradict every fact that came before. The show, created by Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos, is a mystery of the messiest kind. And unlike the orderly truths we’ve come to expect from cinema, after carefully following the twists and turns and bearing witness to the grisly details of a young woman’s murder, there is no reward of justice or logic waiting at the end.

‘Part 2,’ which hit Netflix with all 10 episodes available now, is more of the same — for better or worse. The show, once again helmed by Ricciardi and Demos, picks up where the first season left off and keeps following the same grueling and repetitive theories, ostensibly in search of ever-elusive answers. One thing, though, shadows over every new update in the lives of Steven, Brendan, and their family: “Making a Murderer.” The show, which became a pop culture staple, was obviously well watched in Manitowoc County, where Brendan and Steve are from. More importantly, the show’s central issue — the guilt of two men versus the corruption of an entire local legal system — fell neatly inside a preset political debate, leaving many to develop fierce and firm beliefs about the case. In Manitowoc County, this tension boiled into hostility. For those involved, the national attention appears to have made it even less appealing to give any ground or concede even the most minor faults. The fight, as seen in season two, was even more entrenched, with even more lives and reputations on the line.

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Charles Ferguson’s Timely ‘Watergate’ Doc Is Routine But Vital [NYFF Review]

It’s been a hell of a week. A divided, partisan country ripped at the seams and what was once a split has become an unnavigable chasm. The protracted and ugly Supreme Court confirmation hearing for Brett Kavanaugh turned into a culture war — left vs. right, men vs. women — when a courageous woman came forward with sexual assault allegations against the nominee and instead of a thorough investigation from the FBI, the country was given a contentious set of hearings Thursday. And while it might seem naive or Coastal, it’s hard to imagine that anyone out there didn’t already have an unyielding opinion that was only exacerbated throughout this whole, repugnant process.

From the depths of this collective despair, it’s hard to see the light on the other side — some sort of unifying kinship that allows us to no longer detest (or at least lack respect for) our neighbors, though it is easy to remember less contentious times (both those fueled by war and those that just simply weren’t batshit crazy). It is therefore easy to forget that this level of chaos has consumed our government and our country before: Watergate. The scandal of all American scandals, Watergate truly was the sort of Constitutional crisis that people claim is encroaching today. This impossible-to-miss parallel is a good portion of what gives Charles Ferguson’s new six-part docu-series “Watergate” its urgency. It’s also what is most likely to glue you to your seat for 260 minutes of this thorough and engaging, but generally uninspiring, film.

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