Monster (2004)

The first female serial killer of America

An emotionally scarred highway drifter shoots a sadistic trick who rapes her, and ultimately becomes America's first female serial killer.

We can be as different as we wanna be, but you can't kill people!
Monster is the bleak story of Aileen Wuornos, a prostitute and one of America's most notorious female serial killers. Based around facts of her life and death, the film primarily focuses on the last year of her freedom. Where after entering into a strange lesbian relationship with Selby Wall, Wuornos, fed up of being a abused by men, starts killing those calling on her services.
Sad and potent is Patty Jenkins' first full length directorial effort. Though perhaps a touch guilty of pandering to Wuornos' own self created "monster" image, the film none the less has the right blend of sympathy and revulsion to make it a fascinating, if uneasy, experience. Former model Charlize Theron goes through a major transformation to become Wuornos, so much so she's practically unrecognisable. Bulked up in weight and with beaten down make up withering her face, Theron goes on to give a towering performance as the troubled, on the edge killer.
Without any thrills or hints of histrionics, Theron is uncompromising throughout the picture. To garner empathy with such an abrasive character is quite a trick, then to switch to monstrosity with conviction seconds later? Well that's almost magical in itself. Theron is backed up well by Christina Ricci as Selby. Selby Wall, an immature young lady oblivious to the dark path she is walking down, is given a great portrayal from Ricci. In light of the powerhouse show from Theron, it's much credit to Ricci that she enhances the film with her own delicate characteristics. Helping to emphasise the strangeness of the union in the process.
It's a tough film for sure, and come the final credits one is left with a feeling of sympathy towards Wuornos and the life she lived. If that be right or wrong is of course up to the individual viewer. Or if that was even Jenkins' intention is probably up for debate. But Monster exists and survives as a bitter character study of a desperate woman, which through the medium of cinema, makes us the viewers privy to something very edgy indeed. 7.5/10

Newmarket Films, Media 8 Entertainment, DEJ Productions, K/W Productions, Denver and Delilah Productions, VIP 2 Medienfonds, MDP Worldwide by Patty Jenkins.
Stars: Charlize Theron, Christina Ricci, Bruce Dern, Lee Tergesen.

Genres: Biography, Crime, Drama, Thriller

Keywords: prostitute rape sexual abuse desperation death penalty motel based on a true story murder betrayal serial killer poverty prostitution heartbreak mental illness woman director

01/30/2004

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