Friday, July 29, 2011


Today we buy tabloid magazines at the supermarket or tune into gossip programs to hear about the latest antics of our favorite celebrities. None of them however compares to the exploits of Joyce McKinney, a Wyoming beauty queen with an IQ of 168 whose story involves kidnapping, a manacled Mormon, rape, doctored tabloid pictures, attempted suicide, a pit bull attack, and canine cloning. In Errol Morris' latest documentary, the delusional, passionate, and intelligent McKinney tells her side of the story while others involved, including two tabloid reporters, a pilot/accomplice, and a Korean genetics doctor. In addition to the incredibly bizarre nature of this story, it is also uncanny how all involved, including McKinney, present plausible versions of events. Errol Morris is the foremost documentarian of our time. With his self-made Interrotron, allowing his subjects to maintain eye contact with both himself and the camera, and hypnotic music, no one makes movies as engaging as he does. Still, McKinney's story, though engrossingly told, left me feeling the same way I feel after watching TMZ or leafing through a National Enquirer in the checkout line. It's immediately interesting but all and all, what's the point?
*** 1/2 out of ****