OK, a few weeks ago I saw the best movie of the year, and I’m just now writing about it. My love of all things Errol Morris is well documented, and he’s made not just the best documentaries I’ve ever seen, but some of the best movies I’ve ever seen. He has a knack for finding stories about interesting characters that seem too bizarre to be true. If you haven’t seen Mr. Death, stop what you’re doing, go on Netflix and watch it. You don’t know what you’re missing.

Tabloid is the latest work of brilliance from Errol Morris, and it doesn’t disappoint. It’s about a woman that has lived a fascinating life, that caused her to end up in the tabloids for at least 4 different events. Joyce McKinney became fodder for the British tabloids in the mid 70s after she was arrested for allegedly kidnapping a Mormon missionary with whom she had had a love affair in the US. The story had everything a tabloid would want- sex, a beauty queen, kidnapping, the phrase “spread eagle”, brainwashing, and it led to even more insidious allegations.
Different papers approached the story from different angles- one ran photos of Joyce in a nun’s habit describing a tragic love story being torn apart by a cult, while another ran racy nude and semi-nude photos (that she claims were doctored) with a story of prostitution and abduction, leading to a sexual romp lasting 3 days. I suspect the truth lies somewhere in the middle, but the truth is irrelevant to the story, which is more about the reaction to these events than the events themselves.
After this happened, Joyce once again found herself in the press for a few other incidents, which I won’t reveal for fear of spoiling the surprise. Suffice it to say that my jaw dropped more than once.
Once again Errol Morris employs the use of his “Interrotron”, which is a device he created that works somewhat like a teleprompter, only instead of projecting words in front of a camera, it projects the face of the interviewer. This allows the subject to look directly into the camera lens, giving the viewer eye contact with the person being interviewed. The difference between this and the traditional over the shoulder camera angle really is remarkable, and is part of what makes this film work so well.
Go see this movie. Let me repeat- GO SEE THIS MOVIE. It’s the best film I’ve seen in the first 8 months of 2011, and I doubt I will see anything better this year.
If you need a scale to finish off a review, then I’ll rate Tabloid on a scale of newspaper circulation figures, from Yomiuri Shimbun at 14.067 Million, to The Economic Times and its’ meager 640 Thousand. Tabloid is a solid Asahi Shimbun (12.121 Million).
P.S. Go see this movie!