Directed By Errol Morris
Opens July 15
Errol Morris's The Fog of War and Standard Operating Procedure were knocked as insufficiently critical of their heated political subjects, and Tabloid has been taken as a return to the guilt-free celebration of the weird and wonderful. Joyce McKinney's self-propelled saga does fit the bill, a life writ in screaming boldface: Beauty Queen Kidnaps Mormon Lover, Sex-Enslaves; and then years later—Act Two!—Clones Pooch with Help of Korean Doc (Seoul Mates?). But far from being a throwaway, the absurd, and absurdly entertaining, narrative of obsession and desire also acts as a summary statement for Morris as storyteller and professional fascinated person.
Each of the influential documentarian's highly absorbing portraits is distinguished by entering completely into another world of logic which in turn seems to deconstruct our own—tunneling through ridiculous (or horrific) idiosyncrasy into the profound. McKinney, a Southern raconteur with a flair for le mot juste, is a romantic who gets things done, until she herself is undone. Yet her adventure is a demonstration of pure force of personality and of narrative, as she ropes in men and pursues at any cost her immortal beloveds (man and beast). To Morris, who is a self-proclaimed fan alongside the Brit reporters and goofball admirer he also presents, McKinney's tale is a fantasy of obsession fueling and consuming its own reality.
Morris (a veteran of commercials) also knows how to sell a show, and Tabloid is tricked out with catchy editing, typeface pastiches, and some uncanny early footage of McKinney. Finding the fine line between marveling and rubbernecking, Morris displays an imaginative empathy that's more complicated than either his critics or the titular practitioners might allow.
Opens July 15