Elize Matsunaga: Once Upon a Crime review – interview with a killer

July 9, 2021
Jordan Russell Lyon 0
Netflix, TV Reviews
3.5

Summary

Any true crime fans will love this. It may be one to remember.

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3.5

Summary

Any true crime fans will love this. It may be one to remember.

This review of the Netflix true-crime series Elize Matsunaga: Once Upon a Crime does not contain spoilers.

Elize Matsunaga: Once Upon a Crime tells the tragic and horrifying true story of Marcos Kitano Matsunaga‘s death at the hands of his wife Elize Matsunaga in 2002.

What separates this true-crime docu-series from all the others are the haunting interviews with Elize Matsunaga, her first since she was sentenced to 19 years in prison. With the murder taking place in São Paulo, Brazil, Elize not only brutally murdered her husband but dismembered his body and used a plastic bag to dispose of him 20 miles away. A former prostitute, Elize met her future husband whilst he was still married.

Despite their rocky introduction, she soon married. The marriage, although not a happy one, did result in Elize falling pregnant. This very fact, and the knowledge that the child will grow up knowing her mother murdered her father, makes watching Elize Matsunaga: Once Upon a Crime that much more difficult.

The most interesting part of this docu-series is the interviews with Elize Matsunaga herself. Having already confessed to the crime of murder, Eliza provides details of her troubling upbringing, the relationship she shared with Marcos Kitano Matsunaga, and what led to the murder.

As the show progresses, it shows interviews and testimonies from those connected to the case. We later learn more about the crime from friends, family, officers, and investigators.

Although featuring interviews from Elize is what sets the show apart, it may also be its downfall. In previous true-crime shows, learning about the crime from others allows the audience to feel sympathetic towards the crime; and truly feel for those connected to what was being explored. However, watching interviews with Elize and listening to her explore her actions may turn some audience members off. It’s hard to sympathize with Elize, no matter how tragic she explains her own situation to be.

Whether you enjoy Elize Matsunaga: Once Upon a Crime will depend on whether you’re able to stomach watching a killer explain themselves.

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