Something about Old-Growth Murder had me staying away for months. On my Amazon watchlist for quite some time, I think the fact that the victim, Alain Malessard, was from France made me skeptical that I couldn’t multitask while watching this. It turns out only a small part of Old-Growth Murder is actually in French.
The story is about a Malessard’s bicycle trip across North America. He went across Canada and intended to go down the West Coast before crossing back over across the country. Sadly, he was murdered in Oregon along the way.
This true documentary examines some of the suspects. And, well, it does a horrible job at it.
I’ll often write these reviews saying what’s good and what’s bad. This documentary almost had me hitting the exit button within ten minutes. The runtime is over 2 hours and I stuck with it. I didn’t have to. My early thoughts were true.
Why Old-Growth Murder is a true crime documentary to stay away from
Yawn! The narrator leads this documentary and he has very little personality or enthusiasm. I’m finding documentaries with a narrator tend to move slowly. This one is almost exclusively driven by narration, photographs, and newspaper headlines. It was a hard watch and not because it’s full of blood and gore. It was terribly boring, badly paced, and had little excitement at all.
The story definitely has potential to make for a good unsolved true crime documentary. There are multiple suspects including two sets of Butler Brothers from the area who are identified by an anonymous caller years later. Unfortunately, the filmmakers completely missed the mark with this one.
The only joy I had while watching this was in part two when they examined another crime by one set of Butler Brothers from a few years earlier. I thought about actually upping my overall score for Old-Growth Murder a little bit because this part of the documentary was passable. Thinking twice about it, the pacing wasn’t really any better nor was the overall quality of the production.
I like a boots on the ground, firsthand look at the crimes in my documentaries. This was a very passive film. Even with hearing from those who knew Mallesard, this is a film I cannot recommend to anyone. It’s rare for me to want to shut something off. This was a grind to get through.
Overall Score: 1 out of 10
This isn’t the worst true crime documentary I have seen despite the bad score. Not at all. There are other 1 out of 10s to write about in the future. I do almost feel bad for criticizing a film where I know a good effort was put forth and the true heart of the story was to try and bring justice for someone almost forgotten.
Looking at this film more critically and less personally, I’m insulted and want my two hours back. At the very least, explain to me what the title even means. I have no clue and I made it all of the way through this one.