9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Karla - a joke.
, 27 Oct. 2008
This review is from: Karla [DVD] (DVD)
As a true crime buff, I was reluctant to try this movie as I knew it would never reach the places I wanted it to. As with so many films based on real events, 'Karla' seriously struggles to find it's footing between fiction and reality. Depictions of the actual crimes that took place at the hands of Bernardo and Homolka could surely never be shown, but they could at least be referred to or outlined, or even mentioned. Instead, they are merely glossed over. For anyone familiar with the case, this film will be a disappointment - the facts of the case are ignored in favour of painting a favourable picture of Homolka. I am not suprised the families of the victims would have a problem with this film, mainly because, as with many of the books that have been written, Karla is portrayed as being a victim, not a killer.
If we were to go by this film, we would have to believe that Paul Bernardo forced Karla Homolka into the acts of rape and murder - this film all but has him pointing a gun at her head. The fact that Karla raped her sister is ignored, as is her rape and torture of their 2 other victims. 'Jane Doe', their only known living victim and Homolka's wedding gift to Bernardo, in which they drug, rape and sodomize her, is also left out. I'm not saying I want to see these acts take place but if this is supposed to be a film about actual events, shouldn't they at least have some part? We NEVER see Karla take part in any of the crimes - she just stands there crying and looking horrified.
What we are left with instead is a true slap in the face to the families of the victims - its the 'poor Karla' show. She is portrayed as sweet, innocent, naive and a victim. In this version of events, Karla is just as much a victim - she's nice to the girls and cries when Bernardo wants to hurt them. At one point she even has a sit down with one of the girls to compare notes on Bernardo and what an abuser he is. She gives the same girl a teddy bear. Understandably, this movie wants to look at the crimes as a whole, not go into the gory detail of each, but the picture painted is all wrong.
Instead of focusing on the really interesting elements - the trial, Karla's 'devil deal', the revelation of the tapes, - this film spends a lot of time focusing on Karla's parole board interview, which did take place. But the interview we see is all through Karla's point of view - and it's more of the 'poor Karla' show - he made me do it, and so on and so on. I was left with the impression that the writer's/director wanted to incite an emotional connection between the viewer and Karla, which they succeeded in doing - if I had not known the case prior to viewing, I would have felt very sympathetic towards her, precisley because the truely horrific nature of her involvement in the crimes was never shown.
With a tag line like 'Evil has a beautiful face', I had hoped for an accurate dramatisation of events. Instead they should have opted for 'We think she's innocent'.
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