Director: Fredrick Munk
Genre: Documentary, True Crime
Runtime: 83 Minutes
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by: Pearl
The line between justice and revenge blurs when a devastated family uses social media to track down the people who killed 24-year-old Crystal Theobald. – From IMDB
This documentary asks a lot of important questions. The whole thing isn’t really about who killed Crystal, we for once get an answer to that question. The real question throughout this film is, how far would a person go to seek justice? And is there really a difference between justice and revenge?
I really liked the atmosphere of the whole film. It’s moral ambiguity is a big difference between Why Did and a lot of true crime documentaries I have seen. Everyone interviewed, save the detective, were very open and honest about the kind of things that they are and were willing to do. And because nothing is watered down, or held back, you get a true representation of all the people involved and what they all must have gone through at this time.
I don’t think enough time was spent getting to know the people involved. We are immediately thrown into the hard hitting aspects of the crime, most documentaries will at least spend a little time introducing you to the people involved. We get a a lot of short phrases from her family about what Crystal was like, but for the victim of this crime, we learn very little about her. She is almost forgotten about in exchange for the fake version that was established online. And I know that the film is about the method they used to achieve justice, but I think a little more time could have been spent focussing on the victim.
The most interesting aspect is that it’s hard to see any of the people involved in black or white. We get a two-fold view of everyone involved. The family of the victim were hardly innocent people, and while we are meant to view the gang members as the villains here, there is a long-standing argument about the circumstances that lead so many young men to end up joining gangs In cities, so this isn’t a situation where it is apt for the audience to take a side. What happened was a tragedy, but does it really justify the lengths that the family almost went to, to achieve what they saw as justice?
The film utilises really well the aesthetics of the early 2000s, using the myspace idea to it’s absolute maximum potential. It’s an interesting way to present the story, and one that stops this being just another bland true crime documentary.
‘Why Did You Kill Me’ is available to stream now on Netflix.