Review: Tabloid (TIFF)
PLOT: A documentary exploring the sensational case of former Miss Wyoming Joyce McKinney, who was accused of kidnapping a former boyfriend of hers who was in England on a Mormon retreat. The case became the biggest tabloid story of the seventies in the UK, even though the case remained obscure in North America.
REVIEW: Errol Morris is one of the true masters of the documentary form. Heís been making them for about thirty years, and other than one try twenty years ago (thanks for the heads up Antixpix) he's never really dabbled in fictional film. Why would he? Morris is one of the fortunate few directors that has become an absolute master of his craft, with him being to documentary films what Steven Spielberg of Martin Scorsese are to fictional (although to be fair, Martyís made some great docs too). GATES OF HEAVEN, THE THIN BLUE LINE, MR. DEATH, THE FOG OF WAR. Add TABLOID to that list as this is truly yet another great Morris production, and a virtual lock to win best documentary at the Oscars this year.
One of the most pleasing trends of the last few years is the way mainstream audiences are embracing documentaries. Truly there are a lot of great stories to be told using this form, and the ones that catch on tend to be the ones that tell stories that truly are stranger than fiction. TABLOID is one of those.
Looking at photos of Joyce McKinney in the seventies, one canít help but notice how bloody gorgeous she was. She was a stunning southern belle who had won several beauty contests. However, her heart (allegedly) belonged to one man, a Mormon named Kirk Anderson. To hear McKinney tell the tale, she freed him from the Mormonís that were attempting to brainwash him, and the two of them had a wonderfull, sexy vacation in Devon when she allegedly kidnapped him.
The real story is more complicated, and Morris lets it unfold slowly through extensive interviews with McKinney, a former member of the church, and two journalists that worked for the biggest English tabloids of the time; The Daily Mirror, and The Sun. By the time the story has unfolded, you jaw will be on the floor- but the weirdness doesnít stop there. By the time the credits role, a tangled tale involving religion, bondage, sex slaves, rape, prostitution, and animal cloning will have blown your mind. And itís all true!
But donít take my word for it, see it yourself! While some recent docs like CATFISH (which I loved), and IíM NOT THERE might not in fact be straight documentaries- TABLOID is all true, and the documentation exists to prove it. Thereís no room for exaggeration here, as thatís not Morrisí game. Give this a shot once it comes out, even if youíve thought Morrisí docs were a tad high-brow in the past. TABLOID is the most user friendly thing heís ever put out, and if any of his films had the chance to break into the mainstream, this is the one.