Fascinating view into the media jungle by documentary legend Errol Morris, who’s unforgettable inquest into the conviction of an innocent man The Thin Blue Line (1988) resulted in the release of the prisonner from death row and sparked a career spanning over 30 years which has won him awards, worldwide.
Tabloid is the story of the media frenzy around former Miss Wyoming, Joyce McKinney, who was charged with abducting and imprisoning a Mormon missionary in 1977. The tabloid stories which followed Joyce are here revived to show the perfect sexy scandal which won the covers of red tops for years.
Joyce (who is now suing Errol Morris) comes across as an eccentric but loveable character, performing her role as every interviewer’s dream, dramatising the story to great effect. Her wild charm helps to enhance the simple tale, creating scene after scene of laugh-out-loud comedy.
I couldn’t possibly give away any plot details, but will say prepare yourself for a story which gets increasingly bizarre as details are revealed.
Amongst the tabloid titles flashing on screen like ‘spread-eagled’ and various bondage words, Joyce’s are the most enjoyable and quotable scenes.
Notably, when she (with her strong southern accent) dismisses the accusation of rape, calling it “like putting a marshmallow in a parking meter” or her outrage at the media excitement over her cloning her dogs “I don’t see the connection between cloned dogs and a 32 year old sex-in-chains story”.
Morris’s provocative use of the media machine takes the viewer behind the smoke and mirrors of the headlines and creates a savvy presentation exploring the way absorb we news while displaying the helpless victims of tabloid fodder. Especially poignant considering the recent News of The World allegations, Morris locks on to the leeches of celebrities at exactly the right time.
His is a masterclass in editing and interviewing, keeping his title as the king of the documentary.
Tabloid is in cinemas now.