karlablogto.jpg

Karla: Worst. Movie. Ever.


Misha Collins as Paul Bernardo and Laura Prepon as his wife, Karla Homolka

Against my better judgement last night, I went to the Carlton to see Karla, the made-for-TV-gone-to-theatre portrait of schoolgirl killers Karla Homolka and Paul Bernardo.

I figured, American filmmakers might actually do something unique with this movie. If you're going to re-enact Bernardo's and Homolka's heinous sex crimes, you might as well go all the way. No dice.

Karla is so sickingly apologetic to Homolka while leaving many factual pieces out. The story unfolds of Homolka (That '70s Show's Laura Prepon) in Joliette prison speaking to a psychiatrist in 2002 in a whirlwind of montages and flashbacks. Homolka's character retells how she met Bernardo until the time they both went to prison.

The film's intent is to portray both Bernardo and Homolka as evil, but because they never expose why their behaviour is so, both characters come off bland. In fact, they make Homolka seem like the victim of a manipulative husband, who couldn't escape his abuse unless she went along with his crimes. Aside from the screaming from husband Paul (Misha Collins), the beatings in the movie are tame compared to what happens off-camera. If you're going to document true-crime, get down and dirty.

The victims' names are changed albeit not so subtly. And who realistically introduces herself by her first and last name anyhow to strangers? "Hi, my name is Linda McCarthy," said one girl as she asked Bernardo for a cigarette.

What irked me most is Homolka's "deal with the devil" was completely left out. Director Joel Bender neglected to mention Ken Murray, Bernardo's original lawyer who hid the evidence videotapes before turning them over to the new attorney when he quit. By that time, Homolka had already bargained 12 years in prison in return for testifying against her husband.

Kristen French's portrayal was appalling. As Bernardo forces her to tell him she loves him, the script has the teen cry, "There are some things worth dying for!" I looked around the theatre and heard several people gasp at that line then shake their heads. "What is wrong with this director? Who writes this?" one guy said aloud, while another guy behind me started shouting, "Propaganda!"

No wonder there are NOW and EYE newspaper boxes outside the theatre with signs that read, "Boycott this movie. Respect the truth."

Karla, at best, is a low-budget City-TV movie they show at 3 a.m. The "scary thriller-movie" music is almost too much at times and the focus on Karla's teased bangs worse. It's nothing the papers haven't covered in the past and the impact less than reading court articles in detail. It's offensive in the sense that it's just a really poorly-made film.

The final shot zooms in on Karla's eyes. The voiceover says, "I did kill somebody...I killed my little sister. How can anyone ever be forgiven for that? I think about what I did every day. I really do."

The audience erupted into a unison, "Booooo!"

DSCF1232-1.JPG

Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in Film

5 movies that missed the mark at TIFF 2019

The 10 best movies at TIFF 2019

TIFF announces award winning films for 2019

10 movies that could win the People's Choice Award at TIFF

Someone got fired from their job because they went to see Dakota Johnson at TIFF

Nicole Kidman cuddled a puppy in Toronto and the world is in love

The best and worst movies at TIFF 2019 so far

Scotiabank Theatre is refusing to screen Netflix and Amazon movies at TIFF