18 of 1001 Movies: Aileen Wuornos: The Selling of a Serial Killer (1992)

Nick Broomfield provides an interesting look at the media, and judicial system that is probably more insightful than any documentary before it on this subject matter. Broomfield interviews the people who knew Aileen, and begins speaking with her adoptive mother, Arlene, and lawyer, Steve Glazer in the hopes of obtaining an interview with Aileen. Not only does this film document his attempts to get an interview it also exposes the questions about the fairness of her trial given the vested interests in it by police.

My Thoughts. 
At first I wasn’t too thrilled about watching a movie that seemed like an attempt to try to make an old story a new one at the time this was popular. The thing is that Broomfield successfully found a way to give this story another perspective from the side of money. When we watch crimes on television we think about the victims, the hoard of media coverage, the killer, and the families involved, but we never think of the people plotting of how this could bring them their next big buck. Everything from how Arlene and Steve have sketchy motives for taking control of Aileen’s trial, and life to how the police are avoiding to speak to the movie negotiations, and books already being made to document her, show how people were looking to profit from Aileen.

I think Broomfield very nicely explains the story to those who aren’t very familiar to the trial, and plays in the money aspect without just making this movie about her crimes. Broomfield was also the only person who Wuornos felt reached out to her in anyway. You have no idea how to really perceive Wuornos because she committed awful crimes, but also had a terrible life. There really was no one from the time she was born who was looking out for her well being. Broomfield offering to look into something for her seemed light an excitement in Wuornos that someone finally was going to go somewhere in thoroughly investigating this.

We also get the build up worth waiting for which is the final moment of revealing whether or not Broomfield can achieve getting his interview. This film really shows the build, and fall of how things came together for this movie to work in a way that is unpredictable.

Wuornos gets a chance to speak her mind a little more than she probably had previously. I think Broomfield provides good insights on both sides of the fence without really letting himself get in the way with his own opinions. He knows what he has set out for, and achieves. He was able to turn the camera around on the other people, and make us feel we were almost watching something we don’t want to be real, but terrifyingly no one in this movie is acting.

Rating 4 of 5.

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