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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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
I felt so trashy while watching Heidi Fleiss: Hollywood Madame, yet it was so engrossing I just couldn't help continuing on. It's an expose of a woman who ran a high class prostitution ring in LA in the early 90s. Nick Broomfield interviews his subjects (call girls, the director of Starsky & Hutch, an elderly madame who looks and acts exactly like the Egg Lady in Pink Flamginos, a gruff voice on the phone belonging to "Cookie" the bodyguard, and eventually Heidi herself) again and again, eventually trapping them all in a web of lies. It's impossible to figure out who is telling the truth, if the people involved are just having a chuckle at Broomfield's expense, or if they're all so wigged out on coke that they legitimately have no idea what is going on.
In exchange for interviews, Broomfield actually hands his subjects huge wads of cash on camera, so at first he seems like the sucker (or, oddly, like he's applying the prostitute/john relationship to the structure of his documentary), but really he's buying a career move while they're just making themselves look silly. Overall I think Broomfield had the last laugh by exposing how absolutely ludicrous some of these Hollywood types are.
Broomfield is a shameless sensationalist, but he certainly knows how to bring out the hilarity and surreal nature of otherwise serious subjects.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful.
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