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January 24, 2004

{     Monster     }    

10002479.jpg I just saw "Monster" and I feel icky, but icky in a good Cassaavetes kinda way. I think it's important to mention that about a year ago I saw Mr. Lecherous Nick Broomfield's amazing documentary on Aileen Wuornos. Even though I know it's a documentary, Broomfield's "The Selling of a Serial Killer" feels like a sequel to "Monster", which says a lot about how remarkable this film is. Aileen Wuornos was a prostitute that murdered seven men in Florida during the 80's. At her trial she gave a very detailed confession of these killings, sealing her own fate and clearing any suspicion that her lover Selby (played by Christina Ricci in "Monster") was involved. Wuornos was executed in October of 2002 when the Florida State Supreme Court disregarded two efforts to stop the execution based on claims of mental illness. "Monster" focuses on the nine-month period between 1989-1990 when the killings and Wuornos's relationship with Selby took place. A few days ago I might have imagined a number of people better suited to the role of Wuornos than Charlize Theron but now I can't think of any actress who could have done it better. Theron (who, in real life, witnessed her mother shoot and kill her father in self defense as a child) captures the guilt-ridden, troubled, and sometimes unrepentant Wuornos perfectly. The Aileen Wuornos you see in "Monster" is the same you see in "The Selling of a Serial Killer". The film's brilliance lies in the performances and debut director Patty Jenkin's ability to humanize the characters. Aileen Wuornos was not a good person and there's no insinuation to the contrary in this film. She was very damaged internally and while there's little ambiguity in the film concerning the atrocity of her actions, Aileen Wuornos as a person is more of a gray area. This is one of the fairest portrayals of a human being I've seen on film, and this is despite the fact that we're talking about a serial killer. Getting a viewer to care about a someone in love easy but getting a viewer to care about a murderer in love is a very hard task but "Monster" pulls it off.

     » The Official "Monster" Site.
     » Other reviews of "Monster".
     » Creepity crapity documentary filmmaker Nick Broomfield's official website.

Comments

i've read so much about this film and want to see it so bad... i'm afraid it's not even going to play here though... this movie is sooo low budget (from what i've read) that charlize theron was only given one jacket to wear throughout the film... she accidentally burnt a hole in it by bumping a candle or something, so they just decided to burn the jacket some more to achieve a better look because there was no money to spend on another one.... for this movie to be getting so many good reviews and hype especially with a first time director and a second to none budget really says something for it... oh please play in this awful awful town!!!

Posted by: stace at January 24, 2004 11:51 PM

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