Customer Review

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Broomfield at his best so far!, 12 May 2004
This review is from: Aileen: Life And Death Of A Serial Killer [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
This is the third documentary of Nick Broomfield's that I have seen. The first one I saw was "Kurt & Courtney" which I enjoyed immensely and decided was worth the purchase. The other was "Biggie & Tupac" which I did'nt.
The biggest problem with the "Biggie & Tupac" film was that because everyone interviewed was so careful, as they could incriminate themselves or end up on the wrong side of the Crip or Blood gangs, nobody was willing to open up. With the "Kurt" film, Broomfield had to battle against adversity every step of the way through financing problems.
There are neither of these problems in the case of his second film about "America's first female serial killer" Aileen Wouronous. Everybody interviewed gives nothing less than their all and are completely willing to open up in interviews. The interviews with Aileen herself reveal her to be a surprisingly complex character, both angry and bitter but also charming and polite. It is this element that makes the film so watchable.
Without giving too much away, the film goes in depth into Aileen's childhood and reveals her lifelong battle against adversity, from when her mother abandoned her to her execution. Nick interviews many people including people who knew her as a youngster, the guy who represented (or should that be mis-represented!) her at the original trial and Aileen's mother.
Nick assumes a more unbiased stance in this film than he did in segments of his others. This comes across especially in his interviews with Aileen which take on a more conversational tone than the almost interogational and more judgemental approach that was used in his other films. This results in more openess allround and a better understanding of Aileen.
The film includes excerpts from Nick's currently unavailable film "The Making and Selling Of A Serial Killer" (his original film about Aileen fron 1992) as well as news footage of her from her original trial's to the day of her execution. It also includes an excerpt from the original police video of Aileen's confession as well as news footage of Jeb Bush commenting on his decision to sign her death warrant.
The interviews with Aileen herself are the most interesting part of this film. She is completely open about herself, her relationships and what she has (and has'nt!) done. She comes across not as a psychpathic killer but as a little girl lost, someone who could easily have achieved great things but was never given the chance by both her family and society at large.
It is a tragic story of someone who was tossed aside before her life had even begun, of someone who had to fight for everything she ever got (which was'nt much). Amazingly though, Aileen does not hang her head and drag her feet or cry into her glass, she laces many of the segments in which she is featured with good humour and does not let her dire situation drag her down, even on the days before her execution.
If you want the latest mindless trash from Hollywood go and see "Scooby Doo 2", if you want a great human interest story that draws from both a hateful and notorious but also funny, intelligent (some would mad, paranoid or both) and charming individual who was exploited from her earliest days to her final hours and beyond (someone will eventually write a book you can bet!) then you should give this a try.
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