2006-03-30 12:19

As far as the US Justice System and the mainstream American press are concerned, Aileen Wuornos was little more than an ugly stain on humanity. This prostitute turned serial killer took the lives of six men, including a retired police officer. When she was executed in October 2002, cheering crowds gathered to celebrate. But first time writer-director Patty Jenkins saw beyond the media hype, and began to question whether this woman really was the monster she was painted to be.

Jenkins' movie is the product of years of interviews and correspondence with Aileen herself. While the result is gritty, uncompromising and often shocking, it is also a portrait of a tragic figure, starved of all dignity, hope or love. It is not so much a trip inside the mind of a monstrous killer as the story of a lonely, confused woman who made the wrong choices for the right reasons.

The movie opens with Wuornos on the point of suicide. Determined not to die before spending the fee from her last john, she wanders into a bar and meets the woman who will change her life forever: Selby Wall. A fragile, awkward young woman, Wall has been sent to live with an aunt in an attempt to "cure" her homosexuality. At first she elicits only hostility and suspicion from Wournos, but her sincerity and warmth quickly melt Aileen's defences. Soon Wuornos is wildly in love and determined to make a new life for herself and Selby.

But as she embarks on a breathless, frenzied stint of hooking to raise the capital for their new life, the unthinkable happens: surprised, beaten and raped by a violent john, Wuornos is forced to kill or be killed. Shaken, but unrepentant, she finds that the contents of the man's wallet takes her a lot closer to her dream of a new life than the few measly dollars she would have earned otherwise. Desperate to provide for Selby and hold onto her newfound love, Aileen makes a fatal choice - to kill the men who prey on her, rather than submit to the horrors of rape ever again.

Monster is an extraordinary piece of cinema. The dark, grainy cinematography combines with Jenkin's superbly nuanced scripting and direction to evoke a sense of unmatched realism and depth in the grey world that Aileen and Selby inhabit. But it is Theron and Ricci that push the film beyond the ordinary. While much has been made of Theron's physical transformation, it is her bravura character performance that carries the film. No amount of makeup and prosthetics could have lent Theron the depth of subtle believability she brings to the role. Yet despite the shadow that Theron's performance casts over the film, Ricci holds her own admirably. She resists the obvious pressure to become one-dimensional, and gives one of the performances of her career.

Monster is not an easy or entertaining film to watch. The ugly realism of the experience even robs us of the voyeuristic thrill of watching a "serial killer" at work. But at the same time it is an intensely rewarding experience. On our journey into the heart of a "monster" instead of horror we find love, love that is far more real and sincere than anything Hollywood romances seem able to produce.

Charlize Theron gives the performance of her career in this gritty, uncompromising journey into the heart of a serial killer.

debra 2004/02/27 9:49 AM
Monster Very good, Yes
Tracey 2004/02/27 11:23 AM
She's the Best The movies was great, she definately deserves an Oscar. Excellent work, beauty turns to beast, best work of her career.
Sharon 2004/02/27 11:25 AM
Mrs. She will get an Oscar. I'm sure of it.
Sharon 2004/02/27 11:25 AM
Mrs. She will get an Oscar. I'm sure of it.
Renee 2004/02/27 12:13 PM
Monster I think if anyone derserves this oscar it will be Charlize - Go Girl!! Gothika
Merle 2004/02/27 4:28 PM
Great Stuff Brilliant movie, makes you think The Passion of the Christ
Susan 2004/02/28 12:31 PM
Monster Yes, quite an outstanding performance from Charlize and she deserves to win the Oscar.
Paul du Toit 2004/02/28 2:32 PM
Monster You go Girl. Undoubtily a refreashing experience to see and enjoy such freash unique talent Monster
Piet Viljoen 2004/02/29 6:31 AM
Monster What an experience. True life drama at it's best. At first, one feels sorry for her, then one thinks that the men deserved it. I am sure it makes a lot of people rethink their conduct with the other person. Well done Charlize. Love Actually
Piet 2004/02/29 6:35 AM
Monster Congratulations Charlize, you have the Oscar. It is number three!!!! I am happy for you. Love Actually
Kyle 2004/02/29 12:09 PM
Monster Brilliant. And as for Charlize- I have never been so moved by an acting performance before. Charlize gets Aileen taped, making you feel like you're in Aileen's shoes, experiencing the monster she could never overcome. Monster
Mara Smidt 2004/02/29 4:19 PM
Ms wow !!! this is terrific !!! Wow I am so proud of this young lady, believe me... I am corresponding with a few Americans and all feels that this is going to be one of the best Movies, in a very very long time... the role was played with emotion and no one would have done it better. This is a good drama!!! I would recommended it a 5 star.. with what I read and heard about this movie...
Mara Smidt 2004/02/29 4:29 PM
Monster Wow!!! this is terrific!!!! I am so proud of this young lady, believe me.... I am corresponding with a few American friends. All of them feels that this is going to be one of the best Movies, in a very very long time. The role was played with emotion, and no one would of done it better. This is a very good drama !!! I recommended a 5 star. And this best of all the actress is South African. Recommend !!!! 5 Star !!!!
Christelle 2004/02/29 8:12 PM
Monster Not for sensitive viewers, very explicit. Somethings got to give
Type your name hmaryere 2004/03/05 4:09 PM
monster it is sick- whave this kind of stuff in our newspaers everyday - who wants to go to pay to see it.
Kosie Wournos 2004/03/07 12:07 AM
professor How dare they call my family a monster!!!!! The revenge of the monsters
Jannie Wournos 2004/03/07 12:13 AM
monster I will show Charlize what a real monster looks like. vetkoekpaleis
Jannie Wournos 2004/03/07 12:13 AM
monster I will show Charlize what a real monster looks like. vetkoekpaleis
Jessica 2004/03/11 10:44 PM
Brilliant movie!! This movie was absolutely brilliant!! I loved the torturous role that Charlize Theron played. You feel only sympathy and pity for her, not anger. CHristina Ricci is also divine in her role and the lesbian aspect of the movie was quite refreshing! In America
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