Tales of the Grim Sleeper (Nick Broomfield, 2014): USA, UK

Reviewed by Ke Shen. Viewed at the AFI Fest in Hollywood.

It is a documentary movie directed by Nick Broomfield who is from England. This is about a serial killer recently caught in South Los Angeles. Director focus on the neighborhood and try to find out how the people live near him think about a serial killer live near them and never got caught for over 20 years long. Furthermore, under that obvious story line, a more terrifying truth in Los Angeles.

The movie itself is simple. Director found lots of people live in the neighborhood where that killer lived. Lots of people don’t believe he is the real killer because he seems so nice and helpful to everyone. “You can ask him for anything, anything. You just ask him and he will get it for you. But don’t ask how he get these things. He won’t tell.” This is the comment one of the people said in the movie. However, the proves seems much solid to the neighbors words.

To me, the last part of the movie is which made this movie different from other documentary movies. It raise a problem that why nobody in L.A knows about this or even heard about this.One of the people got interviewed said something like this “What if some one was murdered or disappeared in Beverly Hill or even in any other part of L.A? It will become the front page of every newspaper. But if someone was murdered or disappeared here? It do happen everyday. You don’t see anything about this in any newspapers.” The huge gap in one city is really shock me. It is like in one classroom that someone is missing, at least the teacher will notice and ask the parents what happened to the child. However, in a modern city and happened at least 20 years. It is still seems so unknown to anyone. The huge differences between the black community and others is become serious in L.A. I feel really sorry for these people, but I have to applause for their courage to come to the screen to tell other people something they don’t realize is happening. I personally take planes to L.A at least twice a year. From the movie I remembered the director said this “It was happened just below the route planes land on LAX”. It is not something happened somewhere nobody knows. In the end of the movie, the mayor of L.A and the chief of LAPD couldn’t ask the questions from the press. I see shame on their faces. The movie itself did a great job of telling story. The amazing part is how the problem is showed to the audience. All the things we can do is rather do something to help these poor black people or sit and see what will happen next to the killer.

In sum, it is a great movie, great story telling, but the most credits will go to the people who get courage to stand front of the camera to tell what they see and feel about this whole thing and the city itself.

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