A documentary crew from the BBC arrives in L.A. intent on interviewing Heidi Fleiss, a year after her arrest for running a brothel but before her trial. Several months elapse before the ...
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The story of Heidi Fleiss, known as "The Hollywood Madam", who was the daughter of a prominent Los Angeles doctor and eventually became a prostitute for a well-known Los Angeles madam. She ... See full summary »
Kamikaze documentarian Nick Broomfield unleashes his bothersome Brit persona on the Iron Lady in this hilariously revealing film. The result is ninety minutes of the filmmaker being ... See full summary »
Both uproaringly funny and unerringly cautionary, Broomfield's behind-the-scenes document of the making of a musical becomes a ceremonious unmaking-of as egos, budgets and general calamity ... See full summary »
A documentary crew from the BBC arrives in L.A. intent on interviewing Heidi Fleiss, a year after her arrest for running a brothel but before her trial. Several months elapse before the interview, so the crew searches for anyone who'll talk about the young woman. Two people have a lot to say to the camera: a retired madam named Alex for whom Fleiss once worked and Fleiss's one-time boyfriend, Ivan Nagy, who introduced her to Alex. Alex and Nagy don't like each other, so the crew shuttles between them with "she said" and "he said." When they finally interview Fleiss, they spend their time reciting what Alex and Nagy have had to say and asking her reaction.Written by
Why do you want to pester me? Do you think you want to come back and rob me some more? Is that why you're calling me? You want to rob me still, you greedy Jew pig? Why don't you go blow the shofar? It's Passover, asshole.
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A flawed, but fascinating example of investigative reporting.
I've never "loved" anything that Nick Broomfield has done, but I certainly love him as a documentarian. He has a unique, and very obtrusive style of filmmaking that forces the viewer to follow his line of thinking. This, as one might surmise has advantages and disadvantages, and indeed the flaws in this otherwise fascinating documentary are mostly from his style.
On the other hand, it's a fitting style to use as he does his investigative reporting trying to get the inside scoop on the whole Heidi Fleiss affair, and just what exactly was going on between the cast of characters involved.
I haven't seen such a collection of manipulative, shady characters in one place in a very long time. It's particularly fun watching a former Madam and a former (or are they still together?) lover of Fleiss exchange insults and spin intricate lies about each other and their roles in her life.
Part of what allows this to come out is Broomfield's follow-up style. He interviews one person, then another, then often goes back to a previous interviewee to get their reaction to what someone else said. It's an inevitable, but still ingenious structure that helps to involve the viewer.
At the same time, there does come a point when all this lying becomes tiresome. But just when you think you've had enough, Broomfield finally scores an interview with Fleiss herself, which rather than clearing things up, only adds to the confusion. It's a wonderful scene, and true to form, things don't end there, as Broomfield once again returns to certain people to try and put the pieces together.
OVERALL SCORE: B
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