- Director:Errol Morris
- Cast:Joyce McKinney
- Release Date:September 22, 2011
- Distributor:Antidote Films
- Running time:88 minutes
- Film Worth:$16.00
- FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth
Expertly guided by Errol Morris, and featuring a wholly compelling subject, this is a fascinating exploration of truth and memory.
Given the current spate of scandals rocking the tabloid world in general, and Rupert Murdoch's News Of The World in particular, this is a timely release. Seasoned documentarian Errol Morris, who scored a richly deserved Academy Award for 2003's The Fog Of War, dissects the yellow journalism of seventies Britain, using as his scalpel a bizarre story that proves, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that truth is far stranger than fiction.
The twisted tale of former Miss Wyoming Joyce McKinney is the spine of the film. In 1977, she travelled to London and kidnapped - or rescued, according to her - the young Mormon missionary, Kirk Anderson. After several days of sex, which McKinney says was consensual and Anderson swears was not, Anderson fled, and McKinney was caught and arrested... and from there, the story just gets weirder.
The tabloid press had a field day, and it's this that forms the thematic core of the film. Morris wants to talk about the mutable nature of memory and the elusiveness of truth, using McKinney's media frenzy as his case study. Interviews with various figures involved, including reporters who covered the case at the time, as well as McKinney herself, reveal a multifaceted piece of history that goes far beyond the obvious did she/didn't she dichotomy.
McKinney is an interviewer's dream: charming, garrulous, and seemingly shameless. Still protesting her innocence, she presents events as a grand romantic adventure, even as the other interviewees draw a much darker and troubling picture of her. Ultimately, Morris is uninterested in which viewpoint is accurate, but rather focuses on the fascinating ambiguity that exists between them all. Even without such a delicate touch, this would still be worth seeing, if only for the chance to spend time with McKinney, one of the most compelling documentary subjects to come along in some time.