Murder by the Coast (El Caso Wanninkhof-Carabantes) Documentary Review - Reel Advice Movie Reviews

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Murder by the Coast (El Caso Wanninkhof-Carabantes) Documentary Review

"Murder by the Coast" had all the elements to be gripping, entertaining, and emotional - and most of the way it actually was. But this is very typical and formulaic. And if you're familiar how Netflix true crime documentaries flow, then you'll probably already know what the outcome will be in ninety or so minutes.     
In 1999, 19 year old Rocío Wanninkhof disappears and is found murdered almost a month after. With little physical evidence and no suspects to work with, the Spanish authorities pinpoint the murderer through criminal profiling and hearsay. They determine that Dolores Vázquez, Rocío's mother's ex-lover, as the killer. Did Dolores really kill Rocío or is this another sad case of a mistrial and trial by publicity?
If you're a Filipino then the case of Rocío Wanninkhof will feel pretty familiar - including the craziness, emotions, media, public judgement, and ultimately doubts that come with any verdict. In a country where oral evidence is typically used over physical evidence, it has all the hallmarks why hearsay alone and using star witnesses should never be the ultimate decider in criminal cases. Overall, the documentary was just sad because several injustices are made. To Rocío Wanninkhof, to Dolores Vázquez, and to Sonia Carabantes - the additional hate, prison time, and another murder could have been avoided from the get-go. Although admittedly, the LGBTQ spin was a little bit forced in our opinion. Was it really because Dolores was a lesbian or was it because she was the only suspect that the authorities could easily tag to the crime? This is never really made clear. Overall, we liked "Murder by the Coast" even with its formulaic nature. It struck a chord with us even with its predictable overtones. 
 
Rating: 3 and a half reels








Why you should watch it:
- The spin on trial by publicity was disturbing, emotional, and the core that defines this documentary

Why you shouldn't watch it:
- Outside the revelation of who the real murderer was, this is pretty predictable fare

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