‘Casting JonBenet’ offers new perspective on unsolved murder case


Grace Dorsey

Casting JonBenet defies its morbid pretenses to present a gorgeous mixture of raw emotion and entertainment. The description simply doesn’t capture the experience it offers.
The movie dives into the speculation and drama of JonBenet Ramsey’s murder and introduces the viewer to a vibrant cast with compelling personalities and stories. By interviewing the actors vying for roles in “Who Killed JonBenet?” Director Kitty Green is able to add a new and distinct perspective on the 1996 case. Be assured, this film steers clear of sensationalism by keeping the format straightforward. This is a film that captures one’s attention by using the situation’s many layers (the attempts to capture the characters, the lives of the actors themselves and the impact JonBenet’s death had on the world) to tell a story, instead of flashiness.
The vulnerability in some scenes contrasted with the honest humor in others worked to create an emotional journey. It’s clear that Green knew exactly where she wanted to take the audience and used the quirks, personality and hardships of the actors to create a masterful arc. The theater was filled with laughter one moment and solemn silence the next. Green’s experience as a documentary director is evident just by how viewers reacted to Casting JonBenet.
The only downfall of this film seemed to be the lack of a substantial ending. For an hour and 30 minutes, one is pulled through the casting process, but when the credits roll, one is left with a feeling of incompleteness. It’s not just that Green didn’t show everyone who got hired, but there was no reflection on the part of the actors what did it mean for them to portray these figures of American history?
Overall, this film is definitely an entertaining watch. The journey it takes one through, combined with the unique perspective the movie gives, makes Casting JonBenet truly worthwhile. True False Film Festival goers can see Casting JonBenet Saturday, March 4 at 6:30 p.m. at Missouri Theatre and Sunday, March 5 at 8:30 p.m. at Forrest Theater.