‘Citizen Sleuth’ review: True crime podcast finds itself in the spotlight

True crime podcast is a place Morally murky and gray areas. For everyone Rigorous search reports or a murder mystery, there may be dozens where amateur detectives dabble Scientific theft(Opens in a new tab), wild speculation, and uninhibited conspiracy theories, all while cracking jokes or refilling wine glasses. These true crime fans-turned-creators may see themselves as heroes for forgotten victims. But the documentary is slippery and sophisticated Investigative Citizen It exposes the dark underbelly of these altruistic ambitions.

the hero of the story Investigative Citizen On the nose of the true crime podcast so much that it’s in the beginning It looks like a caricature. Emily Nestor, host 181(Opens in a new tab) podcast, is a young white woman who presents a cool alternative look with her messy bun, oversized glasses, and a few tattoos, some of which are inspired by her passion for true crime. You could say she wears this kind of love on her sleeve, but her heart wrapped in a banner that reads “True Crime” is actually on her leg.

She showers praise on popular documentaries such as Made a killer And I’ll go in the dark But Nestor’s passion for crime-solving was originally inspired by fictional FBI agent Clarice Starling Silence of the Lambs. In that story about an underrated country girl, West Virginian Nestor saw a path to her own passion for justice. So, when a strange death sparked rumors of murder, conspiracy, and a cover-up, Nestor saw her chance to make her dream come true. Not to mention she has no training from any detective or journalist frontier: she has a microphone and passion, and that’s enough for a podcast.

What’s the issue Investigative Citizen He follows?

On November 19, 2011, a 20-year-old black woman from Marietta, Ohio, was found dead on the side of Interstate 77 in West Virginia. The authorities will decide(Opens in a new tab) A car accident is the cause of the death of Julia Davis. But speculation began to swirl that the friends Davis had shared earlier that night might play a role in her tragic end.

Intriguing details about the condition of Davis’ body, the position of her clothes, and the location of her car spurred Nestor into action, launching a podcast aimed at exposing dark truths. “I read the case files,” she shares Investigative CitizenFilmmakers. “I was like what the hell? Murder. Cover up. This needs to be dealt with. So why not me?”

For 23 episodes, Nestor followed the possibilities, interviewing Davis’ mother, questioning police officers, debunking her pet theory, and sharing personal stories of her own. Investigative Citizen She starts with Nestor as her podcast is on the rise, making her a superstar at true crime conventions and meet-and-greets podcasts.

Investigative Citizen Dare to become true about true crime podcasts.

Keen for attention, Nestor welcomes documentarian Chris Kasik into her home and DIY podcasting studio, which includes a wall of yarn and a modest foam box to improve the sound quality of her recording. Her family warmly views her show as a rewarding hobby and boasts of her “gaiety” in pursuing this passion without a college education. However, aiming for influence, Nestor begins posting information about the victim that is embarrassing and not remotely relevant to the case. This twisted version of name-dropping serves as an early red flag that this isn’t going to be a story of spy heroics.

As Kasick escorts Nestor to a true crime convention, where podcasters line up in amazement to capture footage of them smiling with their merchandise and props, Investigative Citizen He steadily moves away from glorifying these ambitions. Amidst a sea of ​​fame-seeking fans, the actual detective Paul Holz(Opens in a new tab) – Famous for his work solving the Golden State Killer case – Seems like a beacon of reason. So, when Nestor interviews him on her podcast, where they compare notes on what they think happened to Davis, it could be a triumphant moment for the ambitious Starling. Rather, where Investigative Citizen takes a pivotal role.

Investigative Citizen Audaciously disturbing.

In the third chapter, Nestor is caught in the quandary of the real crime: exploitation. Her quest for the truth yields inappropriate answers. It might risk telling them to end her podcast, which could also mean ending the sponsorship deals that allowed her to walk away from the waitress, not to mention her new role as an idol in a growing and demanding fanbase. The documentary crew presses her about the ethical dilemma while addressing their growing concerns, because the revelations from Holes call their project into question as well.

Tension from the final chapter Investigative Citizen It comes not only from worrying about what Nestor will do but also from wondering how her portrayal will influence her decision. With the cameras in her face, does she feel pressured to perform? Is that what sparks outburst of (white woman) tears When asked about her benefit from the violent death of a black woman? Or will freeing her hands drive her to an unforgiving self-evaluation? And within these adaptations, the viewer may well wonder, what discussions the filmmakers had in making – or even continuing – their project after some particularly damning information came to light.

Some of the most striking moments in Investigative Citizen is when Kasick crosses Nestor and interviews the suspects, people who (understandably) never agreed to be on her podcast at all. During these interviews, realistic slaps meet the intense excitement of amateurs who indulge in real crimes. While the documentary focuses on Nestor – and certainly does her a little favor – it doesn’t suggest that she is outside of this burgeoning industry. At the end, true crime radio broadcasts are played blabbering away in a cacophonous audio montage, urging the audience to think critically about their next listening.

As fruitful and nerve-wracking as it is relentless, Investigative Citizen A must for true crime fans.

Investigative Citizen It was revised from its world premiere at SXSW 2023.

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