A documentary on a former Miss Wyoming who is charged with abducting and imprisoning a young Mormon Missionary.A documentary on a former Miss Wyoming who is charged with abducting and imprisoning a young Mormon Missionary.A documentary on a former Miss Wyoming who is charged with abducting and imprisoning a young Mormon Missionary.
Mr. Morris has described his work in documentary films as falling into one of two categories: 'Completely Whacked Out' and 'Politically Concerned'. The latter category includes his brilliant films "The Fog of War" and "The Thin Blue Line". The 'whacked' category includes "Fast, Cheap & Out of Control" and "Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A Leuchter". I highly recommend any and all of these.
This latest subject, Joyce McKinney, may not be immediately familiar to you. In 1977, she became infamous as the key player in the British tabloid storyline named "Case of the Manacled Mormon". She was accused of following a Mormon missionary to the U.K., kidnapping him, handcuffing him to a bed, and using him as her sex slave. To really understand the story, one must realize the lack of knowledge that the British press had towards the Mormon church at the time. They truly viewed it as a cult.
Ms. McKinney has never stopped her accusations that the Mormon leaders created a cult environment, and brain washed men and women alike. Her stance is a huge part of why her story, or stories, are impossible to take seriously. Her story is that she and Kirk Anderson fell in love and the church forced them apart by shipping Anderson off on a missionary trip to England. Mr. Anderson has refused all interview requests since his release, but he claimed he requested the trip to escape the obsessive clutches of Joyce.
The amazing thing that I noticed while watching this film is that I didn't care about the truth. Even the filmmaker, Mr. Morris, doesn't seem to care about the truth. The fascination is with the personality of the enigmatic Joyce McKinney. Her direct interviews are mesmerizing. When she states "a person can tell a lie so many times that they believe it's true", we have to laugh outloud. Her stories are so convoluted, yet told with such conviction.
I certainly don't wish to spoil the entertainment value afforded by her first person story telling, so I will concentrate on the presentation by Mr. Morris. He seems to really enjoy the tabloid approach and uses graphics and imagery to add detail and structure. His use of the score is highly effective and quite unusual for a documentary. He provides the stage for this former Miss Wyoming to perform. And perform she does!
For comparison purposes, I have nothing. My first thought was a train wreck. Then a circus side show. Neither of those do justice to this unique story of a most unusual woman presented by a visionary filmmaker. All I can say is, you must see it to believe it ... or not.
- Jul 24, 2011