Aileen: The Life And Death of a Serial Killer

Documentarian Nick Broomfield first made a movie about Aileen Wuornos (the subject of recent Oscar winner Monster) in 1992. He follows up here by doing something very few journalists or filmmakers do: showing the effects that his first film had. He also finishes the story by covering Wuornos’s execution. It’s a weird and unsettling movie, as Wuornos, who apparently is using the state as a means to commit suicide, keeps changing her story on what happened, complaining about hidden cameras and poisoned food in her cell, and, in general, acting like someone who’s completely crazy. Broomfield, who hails from the uncivilized parts of the world where the state does not ritually kill adolescents, the mentally retarded or the insane, finds all this terribly disturbing. Perhaps it takes a foreigner to fully grasp the horrifying elements of this quintessentially American drama: childhood sexual abuse, serial killing, state sanctioned murder, and, most chillingly, the state of Florida. Definitely worth a look for both the tragic particular story of Wuornos’ nightmarish childhood and the more general tale of how we, as a nation, love to kill.

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