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An ex-beauty queen's kidnapping and cloning escapades in Errol Morris' latest doc

by Ami Kealoha
on 20 September 2010
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With a former beauty queen accused of kidnapping and rape as a subject, Errol Morris' latest documentary, " Tabloid," has all the makings of an episode of "America's Most Wanted." But those familiar with Morris' work (Vernon, Florida, The Thin Blue Line, Fast, Cheap and Out of Control) know that the auteur is interested in more than the sensationally lurid details of a story.

Instead, Morris' film is a portrait of Joyce McKinney, a woman who first made headlines when she attempted to rescue her husband from Mormons and later came in the public eye for cloning her dog. If McKinney strikes you as bizarre character, you're not alone and Tabloid delights in her zany personality, cutting her interview (she compares a women raping a man to "putting a marshmallow in a parking meter") with other first-person accounts, archival photos, animation and found footage in trademark Morris wink-wink-nudge-nudge style.

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Like with all his films, this one suggests the classic narratives at play, touching on the role of the press, insanity, fame, love, obsession and everything in between. Recently screened at Telluride's and Toronto's Film Festivals, it heads to the BFI London Film Festival next.