Feel your eyes widen and widen as seminal American documentary-maker Errol Morris (‘The Thin Blue Line’) leads you teasingly through the weirder-than-weird tale of Joyce McKinney, a glamour model and former Miss Wyoming from North Carolina who briefly became British tabloid fodder in the late 1970s. Older readers may remember the tale: the papers reported that McKinney, then in her late twenties, flew to London to win back her lover Kirk Anderson, a young Mormon on a mission to Britain. The saucy version, over which the red tops had a field day, was that McKinney – with the help of a pilot and bodyguard – kidnapped Anderson, held him hostage and handcuffed in a Devon cottage for three days, and forced him to have sex. McKinney denied force was involved, although the tabloids relished this angle and McKinney became a cause célèbre.
Morris’s film is simple and raucous, based mostly around a long interview with McKinney, film of her at home, archive footage, thematically related clips (including creepy Mormon animations) and conversations with the pilot, a reporter and, most bizarrely, a Korean scientist who recently cloned one of McKinney’s dogs. We hear nothing of Anderson’s side of the story, and Morris leaves it to us to ponder the case. He’s generous enough to McKinney, although there are moments when the film tips into the realm of the freakshow. This is a lighter, less significant work than his ‘Standard Operating Procedure’ or ‘The Fog of War’, but it’s engrossing and pleasingly slippery with the facts.