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Blu-ray Review

DVD cover

Monster (2004)
(2022 Limited Edition Blu-ray)


Starring: Charlize Theron, Christina Ricci, Bruce Dern and Lee Tergesen
Distributor: Second Sight Films


Certificate: 15
Release Date: 15 August 2022

Selby Wall (Christina Ricci) is a kind but shy and reserved young woman who lives with overly strict parents. She has no friends, but takes to visiting bars desperate to make a connection. Against all the odds, she strikes up a friendship with Aileen Wuornos (Charlize Theron), a wayward and luckless ex-sex worker who is determined to put her life back on track. When they become more than friends, Aileen persuades Selby to leave home with the promise of fun and excitement. However, the money soon runs out and, feeling pressure to look after Selby, Aileen returns to prostitution. She is overpowered and brutally raped, finally managing to shoot the man dead with his own gun. This would undoubtedly be considered self-defence; it begins a cycle of robbery and death, most of which Selby is blissfully unaware of. But where will the killing end and what will it do to their uneasy relationship...?

This film is from 2004. Based on a true story, in reality Aileen Wuornos was America’s first female serial killer. Director Patty Jenkins – who helmed Wonder Woman (2017) – conveys the story with both distaste and heartfelt gravitas. The two women are poles apart in terms of background, temperament and attitude and yet come together, both looking for something new in their life. The performances are strong, particularly that of Charlize Theron. You can’t help feeling both horrified and touched by her portrayal. Wuornos was thrown-out on the streets at the age of thirteen to fend for herself. Her profession was a necessary means to an end. The sympathy is gradually mitigated and then overbalanced with violence and murder. It comes across as actions she felt obliged to carry out to keep them together. So, the balance is maintained in the film to suck you in and drag you along like a Bonnie and Clyde-type experience.

Almost 20 years on from the film’s initial outing, Monster gets a brand new release on Blu-ray in a Limited Edition Box Set. It incorporates a rigid slipcase, original artwork by Daniel Benneworth-Gray, a Soft Cover Book with new essays by Anton Bitel, Hannah Strong & Shelagh Rowan-Legg, Six Collector’s Art Cards and Special Features – including: an Audio Commentary with writer/director Patty Jenkins, actor/producer Charlize Theron & producer Clark Peterson; Making a Murderer: a new interview with Patty Jenkins; Producing a Monster: a new interview with Brad Wyman; Light From Within: a new interview with director of photography Steven Bernstein; Monster: The Vision and Journey; Based on a True Story: The Making of Monster; Deleted and Extended Scenes with director commentary; and the Original Trailer.

I noticed a few cameo appearances throughout the film, including Tenacious D’s Kyle Gas and, for fellow horror fans, Jason Voorhees himself Kane Hodder. The ending is inevitable, although very nicely handled. Personally, the enjoyment came through the strength of the characters and the heart portrayed, rather than any violence. The soundtrack is also nicely balanced by events in the movie.


Ty Power

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