Saturday, March 25, 2017

Monster Movie Review

Monster (2003)
Rent Monster on Amazon Video
Written by: Patty Jenkins
Directed by: Patty Jenkins
Starring:  Charlize Theron, Christina Ricci, Bruce Dern
Rated: R

My rating is simple, Watch It, It Depends, Skip it. Read my previous movie reviews!

Based on a true story, Charlize Theron donned heavy make up to play Aileen Wuornos, a Daytona Beach prostitute who became a serial killer.

This picks such a narrow focus, looking at Wuornos's life just before she begins killing, and compacting the trial into just the conviction.
Theron does a great job that is certainly more than her makeup.
It's lacking. I want more, not that I want to know more, but the story is incredibly truncated.
It depends.

I spent so much of the movie trying to see Charlize Theron through the makeup. I got glimpses, but you'd be hard pressed to identify her. Theron got a lot of flack for winning awards for her role, but it is a good performance, makeup or not.

It's rare to see a female serial killer. Wuornos went from self defense to serial killing rather quickly. Was it really that easy for her to make the leap? It's presented as she needs money and her back is against the wall, but I'd think it would be a bigger leap that what's shown. She's not shown as deranged, but she is certainly damaged.
Her partner Selby (Christina Ricci) is portrayed as blissfully ignorant, and while she is naive, she had to know something was going on. She and Wuornos share a weird co-dependency that highlights how broken they are. They both crave attention and a friend willing to spend time with them. Being meek, Selby was content with Wuornos being the dominant personality.

Wuornos and Selby are the focus of the movie. We miss out on a lot of backstory, but it wouldn't change the outcome and it probably wouldn't answer any questions. Wuornos briefly tries to get a legitimate job, but her lack of experience and often hostile nature prevent that from happening. Instead of returning to prostitution and the inherent dangers, she begins killing. The trial is condensed into just a couple of minutes. We don't see the tension that had to exist between her and Selby. Selby betrayed her, and we don't see any of that.

I suppose it's a credit to the movie that it doesn't victimize Wuornos or her targets. We see very little about the victims, though many of them are played by character actors, Bruce Dern (The Hateful Eight), Scott Wilson (The Walking Dead), and Lee Tergesen (The Americans). The victims are categorized bad by default, and the movie doesn't try to engender any sympathy.

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