Perth International Arts Festival – Tabloid review

Tabloid – Directed by Errol Morris. Rated M. Originally published June 12, 2011. By Simon Miraudo.

This review was first run  – in slightly shorter form – during the Sydney Film Festival. Tabloid plays the Perth International Arts Festival from February 20 to February 25. Click here for more details

The hilarious documentary Tabloid, from director Errol Morris, tells the stranger-than-fiction tale of former beauty queen Joyce McKinney. If you’re unfamiliar with Ms. McKinney, simply Google the following keywords: ‘Mormon’, ‘Sex Scandal’, ‘Kidnapping’, ‘S&M’, ‘Cloning’. McKinney became a tabloid star in England when she reportedly “abducted” her fiancé from his Mormon Church, took him to a Devon getaway and forced him to be her sex slave (believe me; this is just the start of it). Of course, that’s but one version of events. McKinney claims her partner was both in on it, and into it; reporters from competing rags The Daily Express and The Daily Mirror disagree.

What’s most interesting about Tabloid is that it is based almost exclusively on the testimony of three totally untrustworthy subjects. Is at least one of the three telling the truth? Are all of them lying at different times? McKinney even acknowledges that some people lie for so long they begin to think it’s true. To quote critic Matt Singer’s pithy tweet on the film, this is basically “Rashomormon”. Errol Morris, for all his acclaim, has always fended off accusations that he is not an “objective documentarian” (which would be impossible anyway); he always makes his voice heard, his opinions known, and his films have even interfered with the course of his subjects lives. Tabloid is a nice commentary on his particular style of ‘truth-telling’ and objectivity. In the end, we’re all lying simply by telling our version of the truth.

4/5

Check out Simon’s other reviews here.

This review was first run  – in slightly shorter form – during the Sydney Film Festival. Tabloid plays the Perth International Arts Festival from February 20 to February 25. Click here for more details

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