welcome to lobos reviews

title image


Movie Review: Tabloid

Alternate Title: The Manacled Mormon

Story: This terrific new documentary by Errol Morris had me from the first frame. Throw in a kidnapping, a manacled Mormon, three days of sex, chocolate cake and fried chicken to sweeten the pot. Add in celestial sex, secret underwear, risque photos, a tabloid frenzy and dog cloning - it does not get much better than that. I was riveted.

North Carolinian, Joyce McKinney was a tabloid sensational in 1977. Her obsessive love for Mormon, Kirk Anderson, had her following him to England while he was on mission work, and with a small crew of helpers, kidnap him to be able to deprogram him through her love and lots of sex. At least that is what he claimed happened. She claimed it was all consensual.

The release of this film is timely as the Murdoch publishing world is rocked by it's own tabloid scandal. Two of the talking heads were working for British tabloids at the time and one cannot help but compare the reporter's mind set to what we now read in the papers.

Director Morris knows how to grab his audience and keep them rooted. The story is both bizarre and fascinating. Morris' combination of Joyce McKinney telling her own story, file footage, old photos, four talking heads (including one ex-Mormon) and some very funny cut-a-ways make for some wildly entertaining cinema.

Watch the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVtopEahArc

Acting: Theoretically there is no acting in a documentary - but Joyce McKinney, indeed, put on quite a show.

Predilection: I like documentaries

Trivia: While his work explores a wide range of subjects, Morris has stated his films break down into "Completely Whacked Out" and "Politically Concerned." Many focus on people with strong, unusual obsessions. Other films include his probing studies of human nature, The Thin Blue Line (1988), Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr. (1999), The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara (2003)).

Critters: Footage of Joyce's dogs.

Food: Not seen but much talk of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and chocolate cake.

Sex Spectrum: Sex is a big part of this film but only photos (quite tame by today's standards) are shown.

Soundtrack: Philip Glass-like.

Opening Titles: The movie opens with some old footage of Joyce McKinney reading.

Visual Art: Some very funny images throughout the film.

Theater Audience: About 30 other people.

Weather: Not a factor

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 3

Squirm Scale: 0

Drift Factor: I was riveted.

Predictability Level: I was not familiar with this story and was not sure where it was going.

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: Yes

Big Screen or Rental: I always root for the big screen.

Length: 90 minutes.

LOBO HOWLS: 9