The inequities of the American legal system are writ large in Andrew Jarecki’s chilling television documentary series The Jinx. With a crack team of lawyers Robert Durst, heir to a Manhattan real-estate fortune worth billions, was acquitted of the murder of his elderly neighbour in Galveston, Texas, despite admitting to dismembering the corpse, placing the body parts in black garbage bags and tossing them into the ocean. Durst had earlier been implicated in the mysterious disappearance of his first wife and in the murder of a close friend who was about to talk to police about Durst’s possible involvement in the case. Brilliant, reclusive and the subject of relentless media scrutiny, Durst had never spoken publicly about these crimes but contacted Jarecki after seeing the director’s fictionalised Hollywood account of his wife’s disappearance to give his side of the story. A combination of hubris, bitter family resentment and a momentary lapse in concentration lead to Durst’s eventual undoing. Over six episodes The Jinx presents the chilling details of these crimes and constructs a portrait of Durst which is both fascinating and damning. Compelling television—not to be missed.
600 Miles: Dir. Gabriel Ripstein ($26.95)
Winner of the Best Debut Feature Award at the Berlin Film Festival, 600 Miles is a gripping thriller about Arnulfo (Kristyan Ferrer), a young man trafficking illegal weapons between the US and Mexico who is unaware he is being followed by special agent Hank Harris (Tim Roth). After Harris risks an arrest that goes wrong, Arnulfo panics, makes a desperate decision and smuggles the agent into Mexico. During their long road trip across the border towards certain bloodshed, the two enemies slowly connect and discover that the only way they will get out alive is by trusting each other.
Cartel Land: Dir. Matthew Heineman ($32.95)
In the Mexican state of Michoacán, Dr Jose Mireles, a small-town physician known as ‘El Doctor’, leads the Autodefensas, a citizen uprising against the violent Knights Templar drug cartel that has wreaked havoc on the region for years. Meanwhile, in Arizona’s Altar Valley—a narrow, 52-mile-long desert corridor known as Cocaine Alley—Tim ‘Nailer’ Foley, an American veteran, heads a small paramilitary group called Arizona Border Recon, whose goal is to stop Mexico’s drug wars from seeping across the US border. With never before seen footage of the brutality of this seemingly unstoppable war, filmmaker Matthew Heineman gives us front-seat access to a real and shocking story about an inescapable web of violence, corruption and exploitation.
War & Peace ($54.95, Region 4)
Leo Tolstoy’s epic gets the Andrew Davies’ treatment. Napoleon’s army advances and Pierre (Paul Dano), Natasha (Lily James) and Andrei (James Norton) negotiate a Russia in upheaval. Featuring Jim Broadbent, Gillian Anderson, Stephen Rea, Brian Cox, Kenneth Cranham, Ken Stott, Aneurin Barnard, Jessie Buckley, Tom Burke, Adrian Edmonson, Rebecca Front, Matthieu Kassovirz, Aisling Loftus, Jack Lowden, Tuppence Middleton, Greta Scacchi & Callum Turner. Extras: Making of War & Peace Featurettes
The Last Kingdom: Season 1 ($49.95, Region 2 Import)
This Eight-part historical BBC drama centres around the wars between the Saxons and Danes during the ninth century. Alexander Dreymon stars as the warrior Uhtred of Bebbanburg, the son of a Saxon nobleman who was captured by the Danes as a child and raised as one of their own. After Uhtred is blamed for an English uprising he is imprisoned along with fellow captive Brida (Emily Cox). When they are released the pair flee to Winchester, the capital of Wessex, and pledge allegiance to King Alfred (David Dawson). Uhtred takes on the role of training the Saxon forces but will he remain loyal to the country of his birth or will he turn back to those who raised him?
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