| November 1, 2011

“Kinky sex, religion, Mormon missionary, beauty queen, kidnapping. There was something in that story for everyone.”
I couldn’t help but be excited for Tabloid. As an avid Errol Morris fan, the trailer’s tagline and “whodunit?” true story were enough to get me out of my house and into the theater.
Tabloid tells the story of former beauty queen Joyce McKinney and her relationship with Mormon missionary Kirk Anderson. When the beauty queen’s beau is mysteriously whisked away to England by the Mormons, Joyce hatches a plan to get Kirk back. In a case that took late 70’s London by storm, the film’s contradicting “firsthand” accounts let us accept many different truths.
The power of Tabloid comes from more than a great story and odd players, but also from its underlying message. As we find out in Joyce’s first appearance, her I.Q. is 168. Was simply following her heart enough for media fodder? Or should we see through the beauty queen facade and accept the batty woman?
As I got up after the showing, I noticed Errol Morris had a Director’s Statement in our pamphlets. I found the third paragraph particularly appealing.
“A tabloid story is often absurd, often bordering on the ridiculous. It raises all kinds of questions. But it shows people the way we really live our lives, as opposed to how we would like to imagine ourselves.”
It’s always nice when the artist is truly able to capture your thoughts.
As for the DVD release from IFC and MPI, the film is presented in its original 2:40.1 aspect ratio. And the picture quality of Tabloid looks remarkably good for an SD DVD transfer. However, it should be noted that there is necessarily some variation in the picture quality of the film elements as Morris combines various archival sources with newly-conducted interview footage. Obviously, any variance in picture quality due to the age of the archival materials cannot be held against Morris, or even IFC Films and MPI Media Group for the transfer. The material is obviously presented as cleanly as possible.
The film’s soundtrack, which is primarily composed of spoken word per Morris’ interview-centric documentary style, is presented in a more-than-adequately clear 5.1 Dolby Digital mix. As for subtitles, English SDH and Spanish subs are available. There are unfortunately no special features included on the disc with the exception of the film’s theatrical trailer. The lack of special features is definitely a major disappointment, but it shouldn’t deter you from the purchase of this thought-provoking film.

About the Author:

Daniel currently resides in New York City working as a freelance writer and director. He is a graduate of the Film and Video department of Columbia College, specializing in Italian Neo-realism and French & British New Wave cinema.
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