Brand review to die for – The Hollywood Reporter
by Hulu The curse of Von Dutch: a brand to die for is a docu-series on once-staple fashion, a show that feels linked by two ubiquitous trends of the moment: nostalgia for the 2000s and real crime. But he fails to guess what should be the big takeaway from any feedback on a craze for what we thought – that just because something is popular doesn’t mean it’s a good look.
Directed by Andrew Renzi, the three-part miniseries chronicles the rise and fall of the company behind the trucker hats that seemed stuck to every celebrity’s head around the turn of the century. It’s a saga that goes way beyond the bloodless corporate plot – as promised in the opening minutes, the story leads to a co-founder on trial for first degree murder. And he’s the one who seems full of turmoil from the get-go, with three men, in three separate interviews, trying to claim credit for âcreatingâ Von Dutch. In the decade or so between the brand’s inception and its implosion, the documentary features tales of drugs, gangs, shady deals, and threats of physical violence over shady deals.
The curse of Von Dutch: a brand to die for
The bottom line
A reminder that just because something is in fashion doesn’t mean it looks great.
Then there’s the brand itself, so inextricably associated with a fixed point in time that the sordid story can’t help but feel like a reflection of the time itself. (The nostalgia hits especially hard when half-forgotten songs like Crazy Town’s âButterflyâ appear on the soundtrack.) There is certainly a story here, and Renzi has put together a list of topics that should know her better than anyone. It is aimed not only at the founders, but also their friends, family and former colleagues, as well as figures such as Paris Hilton and Dennis Rodman whose support has helped move Von Dutch from an underground name associated with hot-rod culture to one of the most prominent. logos around the world.
But the story shoots itself in the foot with its framing. The curse of Von Dutch is truly an awkward marriage of two stories. One concerns Von Dutch. The other concerns a murder which, although committed by a man who was an integral part of the early days of Von Dutch, appears to have very little to do with Von Dutch. This fact is masked by an almost linear structure which has the additional effect of imposing a framing of true crime where none belongs. The thriller isn’t much of a mystery at all – there is very little dispute over who did what and why. It only becomes the central mystery of the series because Renzi withholds these basic facts, the better to sway the promise of murder in front of viewers as a cheap shiny prize.
This tendency to shyness thwarts any attempt by the viewer to contextualize any of the information thrown at us. At one point in the first episode, a subject takes what appears to be an irrelevant detour about a childhood friend. While the details will prove to be relevant later, it’s unclear at this point what we’re supposed to do with them, or how we’re supposed to feel about them – or even if there is, it’s true. This The curse of Von Dutch takes place mainly through interviews with people who were there is not a problem in itself. But the filmmakers’ apparent lack of interest in seeking objective truth between sometimes contradictory narratives makes it impossible to say how much room we should put in anything anyone says, or in the conscious cinematic reconstructions that Renzi sometimes deploys for them. illustrate.
Sometimes these obscurations become downright nauseous. The curse of Von Dutch holds out as long as possible before finally telling us who died, even interspersing separate accounts of two unrelated events to let us guess in the minutes leading up to the big reveal. In doing so, he presents the murder as a simple way to spice up the history of a struggling business. Renzi strives to humanize those involved, to avoid presenting the tragedy in crude terms like “villain” or “victim”. But the details of the incident are heartbreaking in a way that makes any teasing about how “this story ends in murder” uncomfortable that led to it. The toxic dynamics it’s rooted in might make for a fascinating story in its own right, but there’s not much room for further exploration when The curse of Von Dutch has other more Von Dutch-centric topics to focus on.
Like the very idea rooted in its title. In the final hour of the documentary, Renzi questions several of his subjects about the possibility that the name Von Dutch himself (which belonged to a real person which had nothing to do with the business) could have been cursed. Most respond by speculating that, at least to that viewer’s ears, it sounds more like people bravely trying to accept someone’s suggestion than people espousing a firm belief. It sounds like another attempt to add intrigue to the story, when The curse of Von Dutch already has plenty. What he really needed was more of what most of us earned when we look back at the wild, crazy days of eras past – a sense of perspective.