No stranger to self-promotion, veteran private investigator William C. Dear takes his theory about the Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman murders (already detailed in a self-published 2000 tome) to the screen in “The Overlooked Suspect: O.J. Is Guilty but Not of Murder.” Beyond the subject itself, docu’s tabloid-TV style and Dear’s unctuous, informercial-host-like presence will make this an unappetizing prospect to most. But curiosity seekers and those still fascinated by the case may find his thesis provocative. Pic had its theatrical premiere Feb. 29 at San Francisco’s Roxie Cinema, though doubtless primary exposure will be on DVD.
Dear and helmer Phil Smith compile archival footage, interviews with experts and peripheral figures (though none of the major figures in the case agreed to participate), crude re-enactments and a whole lot of Dear talking to the camera, saying things like, “Intuitively, I have the ability to enter the mind of a killer.”
In a nutshell, Dear’s theory is that O.J. Simpson didn’t commit the 1994 murders as many believe, but rather covered up the guilt of his eldest son, Jason, whose troubled history is cited to suggest he committed the deed in an impulsive rage. Latter had an airtight alibi, according to the Los Angeles Police Department, but Dear pokes holes in that. Much of his evidence is highly speculative, though he does present some disturbing finds (notably a diary and a knife) in a box bought off a salvage auctioneer after Jason Simpson failed to pay his storage-facility rent.
Dear re-enacts his own combing through Jason’s garbage, as well as his purported sneaking onto Nicole Brown Simpson’s cordoned-off property just after the murders. We get many glimpses of the grisly original crime scene. But the nadir is a tasteless dramatization of the killings as Dear believes they happened.
Tech aspects are low-end cable-grade, with music predictably cheesy and melodramatic. But since this is more an argument than a movie, those interested enough to watch probably won’t mind. Convinced viewers are urged to petition authorities for a new trial.