Last Updated: December 1st
In case you were somehow unaware:
- The world isn’t just made up of good guys and bad guys.
- People in jail didn’t necessarily commit the crimes for which they were convicted…
- but some of them did.
- Criminal activity isn’t innate and doesn’t happen in a vacuum.
- The economy intersects with the justice system.
These statements are all valid, though the world would be so much simpler if they weren’t. Plus, this list of documentaries would be a whole lot less complicated and moving.
As it stands, the list below is made up of some of the best crime documentaries on Netflix, and every one of them is a quality film with complex subject matter and compelling human interest. There are no easy answers offered, but there’s still plenty to keep you watching.
Out of Thin Air
You probably don’t know Iceland has a most notorious murder case, but it does. In 1974, two unrelated men disappeared and were never found. At the time, Iceland was a pastoral idyll, and thus, the nation was rocked by the crimes and the subsequent trials. And, though six people ended up going to prison, they allege their confessions were the result of lengthy, intensive interrogations.
This is a dark, moody doc with a lot of information, but no clean resolution.
The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson
In 1992, Marsha P. Johnson was found floating in the Hudson River. The police declared it a suicide, but friends of the trans activist rejected that entirely. This film is set up as a mystery, using activist Victoria Cruz as a detective and a stand-in for the audience. While trying to find out whodunit, the film does a great job of celebrating Johnsons’ impact on the LGBT community and her lasting political legend.