Tabloid (15)


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The Independent Culture

Errol Morris's latest documentary, an inky-fingered mixture of sex, lies, manacles and mastiffs, exercises the sort of fascination that leaves you feeling vaguely unclean.

His subject is a Southern-born blonde ex-beauty queen named Joyce McKinney who, in 1977, crashed into the headlines when she pursued her Mormon boyfriend from Utah to England, kidnapped him at gunpoint and took him to a Devon farmhouse for three days of – what? Consensual sex, according to the lady. Manacled rape, according to the boyfriend, who later prosecuted.

The truth will perhaps remain untold, but that isn't Morris's mission anyway, not when he has a discovery as garrulous and narcissistic as McKinney, now in her sixties and showing no sign of remorse, or indeed of sanity. Of course it's engrossing, though the point of the story is unclear: despite commentary from hacks at the Mirror and Express the film has little to say about tabloid culture. It is simply the spectacle of a talking-head interviewee who would just go on talking as long as she knew a camera was pointed at her.