Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB. United Kingdom, 1992. Channel 4 Television Corporation, Lafayette Films. Screenplay by Nick Broomfield. Cinematography by Barry Ackroyd. Produced by Nick Broomfield. Music by David Bergeaud. Film Editing by Richard M. Lewis, Rick Vick.
Nine years before the release of Monster, the film version of Aileen Wuornos’ story starring Charlize Theron in the lead role, documentary filmmaker Nick Broomfield travelled to Florida to investigate the case of what was possibly America’s first female serial killer and hopefully get a personal interview with her. Wuornos was a prostitute who wandered state highways pretending to be a hitcher to make money, eventually killing seven of her clients and claiming self-defense in her court testimony because, according to her, all the men she killed were trying to rape her. Broomfield’s attempts to get closer to her bring him in contact with her pot-smoking lawyer and her born-again Christian adoptive mother (who adopted her after Wuornos’s arrest at the age of 35), both of whom at first seem wholly bent on defending the suspect’s best interests but gradually appear to be in the game for mercenary reasons. While it’s too short and far too raggedy to be up there with a great film like Murder On A Sunday Morning or Stevie, this film, which touches on more about Florida’s seedier social underbelly than just the case of this one woman, does include some incredibly fascinating footage of its subject that you won’t easily shake off. Almost a decade later, Broomfield returned to the subject with his follow-up film, Aileen: Diary Of A Serial Killer.