The Night Of
A Woman In Trouble
An Irresistible Impulse
The Cycle of Abuse
Lorena is a four part documentary series that’s going to frustrate and annoy a lot of people. The original case back in 1993 captivated audiences across the world because of its significant genital mutilation. Thanks to this specific focus, a lot of the years Lorena suffered abuse leading up to this moment went unreported thanks to a rampant media circus that focused primarily on the severed penis. From domestic violence through to anal rape and verbal abuse, Lorena re-examines the case with a fresh perspective and a more intent focus on the motives and reasoning behind this act.
The first episode begins with a brief look at the unusual case back in 1993 as police rush to the scene and quickly learn that a young woman has sliced off her husband’s penis in a fit of rage. As the media take hold of the story and begin spinning their usual web of sensationalism focused on the act of mutilation, Lorena’s years of domestic abuse, including both physical and mental trauma, remain hidden from view.
As the issue spills into the courtroom and consequently court TV, the rest of the episodes break down the case, Lorena Bobbitt’s mental condition and a closer examination of domestic violence as a whole. With most of the focus solely resting on Lorena Bobbitt and her story, the brief snippets of John Bobbitt are rarely painted in a positive light, quickly followed up by facts or figures that skew his words or paint him negatively. Lorena is a fascinating documentary series and certainly well paced but it’s also pretty biased in its depiction of events as well.
It’s worth mentioning at this point that the overall motive here is raising awareness around domestic violence and stopping these events ever occurring again. At face value it would be easy to write this documentary series off and for many people the way this documentary paints her as a victim will. Yes, she did slice off her husband’s penis but what drove her to do that? Many of us can’t fathom what it would be like to suffer years of mental and physical trauma; numerous trips to the hospital, verbal abuse, anal rape and choking make up the bulk of abuse she suffered for years. Does that make it right for her to cut his penis off? Probably not but it is worth understanding the motivation behind doing this which is where Lorena excels as a documentary.
Lorena’s intent on shining a light around domestic violence with a more empathetic view on what she did is going to annoy a lot of people, no doubt about it. For many people it’s a simple case of mutilation but when it comes to issues like this, things aren’t always as simple as they seem. No matter which side of the fence you fall on though, there’s no denying this documentary is as captivating as the original case way back in 1993. The archival footage of the courtroom coupled with numerous facts, figures and face to face interviews all tick the usual true crime boxes but be prepared for quite the polarizing reception if you decide to give this one a watch.
Verdict - 6/10