In the Dark


Produced by Zodiac Productions Inc.
Written and directed by Patty Jenkins
Distributed by Newmarket Film Group

The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons From the Life of Robert S. McNamara
Produced by and Senart Films
Directed by Errol Morris
Distributed by Sony Pictures Classics

In Monster, director Patty Jenkins rehearses yet again the pitiful career of Aileen Wuornos (Charlize Theron), the Florida highway prostitute who gunned down seven of her johns in 1989.  For her professional malpractice, the Sunshine State executed her in 2002.  As legal remedies go, this one seems to have been grossly ill-advised.

Although Wuornos was unquestionably guilty, she should have been spared on both moral and practical grounds.  First, she was almost certainly insane by the time she turned murderous.  Second, sentencing her to death guaranteed she would become yet another celebrity victim whose many fans would annoy decent folks with their endless clamor on her behalf.

Media attention to Wuornos’ sordid story was relentless from the first.  The tabloids gleefully dubbed her America’s first female serial killer, a meritorious distinction to be sure, but one earned, alas, much earlier than the 20th century.  More respectable media outlets pondered the meaning of Wuornos, sociologically...

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