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April 5, 2004 | by  | in Film |
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Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer

Thank god for documentary makers like Nick Broomfield, devoid of morals, but an amazing abundance of guts. The guy, who all but accused Courtney Love of murdering Kurt Cobain in Kurt and Courtney, takes a look at Aileen Wuornos for the second time. Wuornos is the subject of the Hollywood film Monster, but having not seen that film yet, I cannot really comment on it (but by all accounts it takes a few liberties with the truth).

It details the last few public appearances of Wuornos before her execution. Broomfield is such a partisan documentary-maker, that how much you take from the film is your tolerance of his methods. However, he does make a convincing point that although Wuornos may have killed a number of men, she is still undeniably human. Her upbringing cannot be described as anything better than shit, and as a result, that’s how her life turned out as well. There are interviews with her – one where she denies the killings were in self-defence, and others where she says it was. There is also footage from her appeal, which she doesn’t want herself. She just wants to die.

Broomfield also makes a subtle (interesting for Broomfield) attack on the nature of capital punishment. Although he makes the fallacious comment that states without the death penalty have lower murder rates than those with (in reality the difference is negligible and it is true that studies have proven that the death penalty plays little part in deterring a murderer).

However, it is plain to see the hypocrisy of religious fundamentalists, the media, the victims, the state and its politicians who support state sanctioned murder. An interesting quote was included from an advisor to Jeb Bush (George W’s brother and governor of Florida where Wuornos was being executed) who said he wished Florida was more like Texas (which has an execution rate that would be seventh in the top ten countries). He also attacks the execution of someone who is convincingly shown as mentally unstable (the US is only one of five countries that executes minors and the mentally ill).

This film is recommended for those who saw Monster and liked it. This is also recommended for those of us who refuse to see Hollywood glamorisations, but enjoy being depressed. But hey, the “truth” is depressing.

Directed by Nick Broomfield
US/UK (World Cinema Showcase)
Paramount Monday 5 April

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About the Author ()

Brannavan Gnanalingam has come a long way from being born in the teeming metropolis of Colombo, Sri Lanka. He may be known as feature writer for Salient, but is also the only man in history to have simultaneously donated both his kidneys. He is also an amateur rapper going under the moniker Brantank and hopes to win a Grammy.

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