IDFA Review: Crazy, Not Insane

Over the last fifteen years, Alex Gibney has been frighteningly prolific, releasing amammoth twenty-eight feature-length documentaries. What is more impressive, is how consistently excellent they are. Not to mention award-winning, with the likes of Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room and Taxi to the Dark Side in particular receiving a lot of plaudits. During this time, he’s covered some of the most controversial American figures and organisations. In Crazy, Not Insane he turns his lens on the work of Dr. Dorothy Otnow Lewis.

Lewis has dedicated her life to studying people with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). The forensic psychiatrists came to prominence for her testimonies as an expert witness in a number of high-profile cases involving violent perpetrators exhibiting multiple personalities. Her pioneering work in this area has led to an entire field of research. In Crazy, Not Insane, she tells us the story of her career and recounts how she first became fascinated by the subject of why people commit violent acts.

What makes Crazy, Not Insane so impressive is Gibney’s determination to both focus on the life and impact of a scientific maverick but also the wider connotations this research and study has had on the American justice system. This does bulk up the film in terms of runtime, but the results are more rewarding than just a single focus. Anyone with a penchant for crime novels, TV or films will likely be enthralled by Crazy, Not Insane.

Crazy, Not Insane screens at IDFA.

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