There are some clever, even provocative ideas that inspired Nicola B. Marsh’s four-part Showtime documentary series The , designed to pair Caril Ann Fugate with the notorious carnival killer
estate separated and reinstated , who she accompanied – whether voluntarily or unwillingly, this is debatable – left in a multinational riot
People die from 1958.
Fugate, still alive and now living in Michigan, spent decades first trying to appeal the conviction, then apply for parole, and finally a full pardon . No. Victim, whose producers include Oscar winner
Morgan Neville , is less focused on exonerating Fugate in a legal sense , and pay more attention to the cultural significance of eluting her charges. This documentary takes aim at the true crime genre and how Hollywood’s mythologization of society’s darkest and most ineffable elements becomes representations of truth. This is especially true in cases like the Starkweather/Fugate murders, where a nightmarish event is recalled 11 + Years past have generally been replaced by notorious fictional events in movies, including Badlands , True Romance , California and born killers .
Bottom line Being strangely formal The gaffe ruined it.
Broadcast date: 1959 Friday, February 8pm (Showtime) 80 Director: Nicola B. Marsh
Marsh’s point is very good and convincing . Unfortunately, the documentary is marred by one questionable, infuriating storytelling choice after another, with small missteps accumulating more weight than any single major misstep.
Acknowledging the fact that while much of the Fugate/Starkweather case may have been lost in historical obscurity, the series begins with a full hour dedicated to exhaustive A groundbreaking retelling of the basics of the crime, it’s probably more grotesque than the casually curious genre fan realizes. It was an orgy that began with the killing of Fugate’s mother, stepfather and two-year-old sister and briefly crippled Nebraska and neighboring states as victims included a pair of high school honors and one of Lincoln’s most powerful couple. The murders are bloody and many have a sexual component.
It was a pivotal moment in history as the case garnered national attention in part due to the rapid spread of television and the expansion of television technology that facilitated daily filming of reports. Reports of the filming drew attention to Starkweather, a leather jacket-wearing James Dean admirer who appeared in , seeming to confirm an increasingly paranoid society’s “what’s wrong with kids today?” default fears. Charles Starkweather was a terrifying but unfathomable man. Caril Ann Fugate, only in becomes a whiteboard that civilians can project on almost Totally negative and damning thoughts.
Episode 2 transitions to Fugate’s post-crazy railroad; Episode 3 deals with her time in prison; Episode 4 tries to make Fugate/Starkweather a phenomenon Come to understand, and decades of failing to properly address why the first episode’s narrative remains so pervasive (even if many of the second episode’s injustices feel, in retrospect, so obviously, well, unjust).
The series is limited by Fugate’s absence. I can see why she didn’t want to participate. She is 18, she has health problems, especially in ’80s and ’79s , she went on to visit various TV shows – the self-explanatory F. Lee Bailey joint series Lie Detector is an unbelievable thing to even exist Things – tell her story. But as someone mentioned in the very, very long credits sequence, Fugate and Starkweather are the only two who actually know what happened to the spree. When it comes to Fugate, Marsh’s basic argument for the documentary’s credulity is that her story never changes, while Starkweather’s does, so the series makes no effort to investigate or re-investigate anything related to the crime. If you know the story and its details, you won’t learn anything new, not even anything new.
Marsh is more likely to argue that law enforcement felt compelled not only to punish Starkweather, but to use Fugate as an opportunity to scapegoat in response to allegations of negligence in the earlier stages of the case— By whatever unethical and corner-cutting means necessary – is irresistible. The series aptly connects this irresistible urge to why Hollywood is equally irresistible in turning Charles and Khalil into ultimate versions of Bonnie and Clyde instead of IQ as of the elderly linked and they may be traumatized teenage girls.
Even without Fugate as the primary source, Marsh has access to actual interviews from the time, re-enacted transcripts, etc. to ensure Fugate and Starkweather’s voices are here. She also included various talking avatars in the documentary. There are some Lincoln residents who claim to know Khalil (but rarely provide any substance); Interesting characters such as the warden of Fugate’s women’s prison and the family of her nanny after her release. Linda M. Battisti and John Stevens Berry wrote the book that loosely inspired (and gave it Terrible headlines that I found disturbing on different levels), fill in any gaps and provide some interview audio.
So where was the little annoyance that finally got me interested in the series? I hate documentaries that use psychologists/psychiatrists to play armchair experts on life subjects they’ve clearly never met. Here are two. I worry about the need to impose current meaning on historical events if not done tactfully; there is a leap here from the Starkweather/Fugate case to believing in the importance of women’s voices in modern movements like #MeToo, and the series is really good at trying to make struggle.
And some fill-in-the-blank ideas that simply don’t work, like spending a few minutes with a lip reader explaining the dialogue from Shot of Caril with her sister. Some reenactments blur the lines between fact and fiction and are more distracting than enriching. While there’s actually a ton of footage from that period, there’s a lot of repetitive clips and still images as lazy filler.
Even more annoying, the connection between the case and the film it inspired should be the most interesting part of the documentary, which is set as Carl Orff’s work for Badlands and True Romance. But the documentary’s cultural analysis is really shoddy and doesn’t in any way differentiate between Badlands or Natural Born Killers or Big Wayne Lynch’s Wild at Heart or Bruce Springsteen’s “Nebraska” are using imagery and vibes. Treating them as interchangeable and interchangeable exploits is a dead-end conversation. I got wordless quips from movie writers who dismissed their responsibility for introspection, “I guess if you’re found guilty, then you’re not really worthy of respect anymore.” But not all of these movies work on that principle, Several films, including Wild at Heart, comment very clearly on what the documentary suggests Hollywood negligence in interrogation.
Enough The th Victim
is so convincing I think you can watch it and then rewatch some related movies and have a substantial dialogue series start, But stumbled before finishing.