01 Jul 2021: 'Sophie: A Murder in West Cork' review: Moving, disturbing docu-drama
Sophie: A Murder in West Cork, a true-crime documentary series, is now streaming on Netflix. The three-part documentary pieces together found footage, interviews and some recreations to tell the chilling tale of Sophie Toscan du Plantier, who was brutally murdered outside her holiday-home in Ireland. The killer remains unpunished to this day, thanks to many oversights by the police and authorities. Here's our review.
Plot: Sophie planned to return to France for Christmas; never could
Sophie, a TV producer, wanted to return to her family in France after spending some vacation days in Ireland, but unfortunately couldn't. She was beaten to death with a concrete slab, so brutally that a neighbor couldn't positively identify her. The pathologist, who was supposed to examine her, arrived 28 hours late, and that was just the starting point of incompetence from the investigators.
Execution: Irish Police accused of mishandling evidence multiple times
As the documentary progresses, we see that there were gross slip-ups by the Irish Police, (we will not spoil it for you). What's more preposterous is that the prime suspect, Ian Bailey against whom there are several pieces of evidence, roams free and is even interviewed for this documentary. Makers do get credit for playing the docu-series like a mystery thriller, without being over-the-top.
Production: The script is tight; different footage mesh together
The research was extensive, and it shows, very clearly. From family, civilians to law-enforcement, the creators have tried to give a rounded perspective. The found footage of Sophie is blended very seamlessly with the interviews and the recreated filler shots. Background score is kept minimalist, and the story is allowed to take center stage. Your blood boils when you see Sophie didn't get justice.
Verdict: This is a must-watch for true-crime lovers; gets 3.5/5
The series is a must watch for its gripping storytelling and is even more so for lovers of the true-crime genre. The series will baffle, frustrate and disturb in equal amounts. The only downside, apart from its somewhat lengthy nature, is that the makers sometimes look too involved and losing their objectivity. Even the audience knows who did it, over-emphasis wasn't needed. Verdict: 3.5/5.
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Also see: 'Murder By The Coast': When media trial, homophobia impacted judgment
'The Staircase': Sophie Turner joins HBO Max's new true-crime series
Netflix to buy streaming rights of documentary drama on Salim-Javed?
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