It’s directed by Academy Award winner Errol Morris, the man who helped revolutionized the documentary by applying constructs of fiction filmmaking to the nonfiction format in “The Thin Blue Line” and “The Fog of War.” Never has his style been quite as playful as it is in this polished gem.
Morris has struck gold in the tale of Joyce McKinney, a former beauty queen who, in 1977, flew to England to surprise her Mormon boyfriend, taking him away from his missionary work and chaining him to a bed for a weekend of “food, fun and sex.” Trouble is, he cried kidnapping and rape, thereby placing her behind bars, on trial and plastered across the front pages of the UK’s dueling newsdailies.
That alone would make for an interesting subject, but against all odds, the story weaves into ever-stranger territory. Just when you think it can’t get any weirder, it does.
Morris is a master at orchestrating the retelling of such a media circus, and in such a deliriously entertaining manner. My only complaint is that, at 87 minutes, “Tabloid” is too short. I easily was so invested in McKinney’s spell, I was primed for another half hour. —Rod Lott