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Talhotblond tells the story of a love triangle in which the lovers never meet face to face, but one person ends up dead, another goes to prison, and the families of all three are changed forever. Drawing from exclusive Internet messages and interviews, this documentary details the horrific results of what can happen when people lie online.
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Top Customer Reviews
This 2009 Seattle International Film Festival selection starts with a voice-over which explains we are looking at a photo of a fellow who is dead, so he will have a friend do the narration in his place. Shades of "Sunset Boulevard," huh?
There are two things that set this stunning documentary apart:
1.) The editing is so ingenious that various bits of information come unexpectedly and the full picture isn't revealed until very late in this engrossing piece. I actually heard the audience gasp...
2.) I love Eric Satie's "Gymnopedie" and as soon as I heard that familiar piano music in the background, I felt this would be a film that was a cut above average.
This is basically a project about cybersex, chatrooms, obsession, self-delusion and justice. It consists of interviews with many of the principals in this tangled web: what they thought, what they saw, what they did, and how they feel today.
There was not a single moment when I was bored.
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IMPORTANT NOTE: There is a scripted movie based on this event, released in 2012. The difference is the title, the scripted one has a capital "T" e.g., "Talhotblond".... while this wonderful 2009 original is "talhotblond" which I purchased from Amazon.
He meets Talhotblond in the chat rooms (the screen user name of an 18 year old girl) and plays out a life where he is a young marine and thus able to appeal to a much younger woman. Soon rivalry shows up in the shape of Brian Barrett (beefcake is his user name) , a co-worker Thomas knows in person.
Ultimately this is a story of tragedy with the pointless loss of a life over a love triangle which never existed in the real world. Later on the shocking truth about Talhotblond is revealed, all is not as it seems.
The film starts unusually with a voice over from the victims perspective, we have interviews with Montgomery, Rex Beaber a Clinical Psychologist, several case detectives as well as Brian's parents. Tim Shieler who is the father of the girl in question, is quite visibly shaken and emotional during his interview scenes. The documentary is well produced, though has quite a lot of the text used during the conversations on-line (much of which is unsuitable for younger viewers due to the graphic nature of the messages), a little slow to start but it picks up mid point.
This film certainly makes you ponder about the dangers of posing as someone you are not, the tragic elements are in many directions, a mentally ill man who takes his compulsion out on a fellow co-worker, the girl whom neither man has met, and the final details about the exact identity of the girl in question really throws an unexpected punch. Fantasy and reality clash in this sad but true story where nothing is as it seems, and nobody should have been hurt or killed. Certainly worth a watch if true crime stories are an interest.
The film explores human identity - "real" and created. This is a fascinating and relevant theme, given the popularity of virtual communications. This film disturbs the viewers and leaves them with a lot to think about after it ends.
Also, Talhotblond is a unique film in that the story is told in printed words more than in pictures. The instant messages sent by the three "lovers" scroll across the screen to reveal the story. The filmmakers intersperse comments from a clinical psychologist, cops, lawyers, and one of the protagonists. The comments from the psychologist are particularly insightful.
The film is about the right length at 75 minutes. Filmmaker Barbara Schroeder tells the story in an interesting way that continually surprises the viewer.
As a reviewer, I'm pretty stingy with my five-star ratings. But Talhotblond deserves nothing less. This is a fascinating documentary that takes the viewer uncomfortably close to the heart of darkness.