REVIEW: The Unknown Known

unknown known

The Unknown Known
Directed by: Errol Morris
Starring: Donald Rumsfeld and Errol Morris

The latest Errol Morris documentary, about the political life and times of Donald Rumsfeld, is an intentionally infuriating and vague work.  With the former Secretary of Defense’s onslaught of non-answers, excuses, digressions and nervous smirks, Morris depicts a genuine heart of dishonesty and blithe unawareness.

The Unknown Known is not about a documentarian skewering one of the most notorious figures of the George W. Bush years, which is why I think many will be perplexed at how free Rumsfeld is to run away with many of the questions.  The structure of the documentary almost seems to play with that audience expectation, beginning with the 2003 invasion of Iraq and then switching to Rumsfeld’s political career before returning to that post-9/11 time period.

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REVIEW: Tabloid

Directed by: Errol Morris
Written by: N/A
Starring: Joyce McKinney, Peter Tory, Kent Gavin and Jackson Shaw

Tabloid is what you would expect from an Errol Morris documentary, which is the unexpected.  With a career that includes films about a former Secretary of Defense, a Holocaust denier and a pet cemetery, it’s impossible to know what his lens will focus on next.

In this latest endeavor, he fixates on Joyce McKinney, a woman who was hounded by the British paparazzi in the 70s after a kidnapping scandal with her Mormon boyfriend.  Morris tells this story largely through talking head interviews with McKinney and members of the tabloids who covered her from various angles.  To simply say that it is a wildly entertaining film would ironically be to sell it short of its purpose, which is to deconstruct the entire idea of entertainment.

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