Obsession and the search for truth are two of the central themes running through the films of Errol Morris, arguably one of the greatest documentary filmmakers of all time. In his 1988 film The Thin Blue Line, Morris' quest for the truth set a man free from a life sentence after he had wrongly been convicted of killing a policeman, while films like Fast, Cheap and Out of Control and Dr. Death examine what drives obsession, whether the subject is mole rats, topiaries or execution devices.
During an interview I conducted with Morris in Los Angeles, he told me that his latest film, Tabloid, may be his quintessential film, combining his favorite themes with the elements of film noir that first began his love of film. Tabloid tells the story of Joyce McKinney, a former beauty queen whose obsession with a man named Kirk Anderson led her to fly to England (with two bodyguards, a pilot, and an infatuated companion in tow) to bring him back from a group of Mormons. However, what happened after that -- whether Kirk was kidnapped or went willingly, was raped by Joyce or had consensual sex, and if Joyce was a good girl in love or some sort of bondage master to men obsessed with her -- depends on whether you believe Joyce or the voracious British tabloids that reveled in the sordid details of her story.
Watch the trailer for Tabloid below.
In this clip from my interview, Morris discusses whether he believes McKinney has convinced herself that her account is true, the nature of truth, and the law's role in determining the truth.
In this segment, Morris talks about why he believes "the truth is not up for grabs."
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