I Just Killed My Dad review – justice and lives really do hang by a thread

By Kira Comerford
Published: August 9, 2022 (Last updated: January 16, 2023)
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I Just Killed My Dad is a fascinating watch but raises some harrowing ‘what ifs’ in the process.

Netflix documentary series I Just Killed My Dad was released on the streaming service on August 9, 2022.

Netflix has released I Just Killed My Dad, a three-part documentary limited series exploring the events of Anthony Templet’s life that eventually led him to shoot his own father dead at their home one night.

I Just Killed My Dad unpacks a bizarre, multi-layered, and ultimately very dark story. I suppose the correct term technically for what is covered is ‘criminal case’, but in reality that feels like a very cold and misplaced label for what actually happened. The documentary, whilst incredibly fascinating in the way that it presents how breakthroughs in the case happened, really raises an awful lot of questions about the justice system and how much of justice being properly served relies on everyone — particularly in prosecuting roles — doing their jobs to the fullest extent; and that leaving even a single rock unturned has the potential to completely change the direction a case can take.

Similarly, it challenges the attitudes that people have when it comes to what goes on in people’s private lives behind closed doors. What was very apparent was that people in the neighborhood when Anthony lived with his father and stepfamily were aware that something wasn’t quite right, but because of their ‘it’s not our business’ attitudes, things reached a point where Anthony shot his dad and everything spilled out from behind closed doors because there had been no other opportunities to intervene prior to that. I Just Killed My Dad makes a point of touching on the fact that it was only after such a violent act had been committed by Anthony himself that people started to care for him and asks whether or not had the systems been in place that often pick up on earlier signs of abuse if things would ever have had to get to that point. The answer to that we’ll never know; certainly, there are instances where even with the best safeguarding system in the world, things slip through the cracks, but it does feel as though Anthony reached a point where it became a ‘kill or be killed’ scenario because there were so many failings around him.

The interviews that form the basis of the documentary’s narrative are shot in a very interesting way. It seems as though the story’s more sympathetic figures are shot in a more dramatic fashion, with a lighting design that isolates them and really draws you into what they are saying. Considering how balanced much of the rest of the documentary seems to be, it is an interesting move that potentially influences the audience’s feelings for them over many of the other aspects. Given the outcome by the end of the series, I’m not sure whether this was such a terrible move, but prior to knowing the way things turned out I did think it was interesting that such a specific selection of individuals were given this treatment.

On the point of how certain parts of I Just Killed My Dad were filmed, some parts did feel odd. Obviously, when it comes to all of the footage filmed for the documentary, people would have been aware that it was happening, but even so, some parts, especially towards the end did feel more like reality TV which I think took away some of the gravity of what was really happening. I’m talking specifically about the moment where Anthony finds out about the verdict of his case — it just felt quite strange in comparison to so many other parts of the series and I think removed a lot of the gravitas from the news that had just been broken.

On the whole, I Just Killed My Dad is a fascinating watch, but the curiosities it brings to the surface are not to be ignored. A lot of what happened whilst this case was being investigated seemed only to happen through Anthony’s sheer good luck, if you can even call it that. It forces you to wonder what might have happened if certain circumstances hadn’t aligned in the ways in which they did, and how badly he may have come off as a result.

What do you think of the Netflix documentary series I Just Killed My Dad? Comment below.

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