Wisconsin Death Trip

Director: James Marsh
Year Released: 1999
Rating: 0.5

History Channel-type recreation of the graphic events - specifically, a medley of murders, suicides and psychotic meltdowns - that took place in and around Black Water Falls, Wisconsin close to the end of the 19th century as a result of horrendous socio-economic conditions, rampant disease and a shortage of professional football. The Michael Lesy book it's based on has a strong cult reputation, but this 'documentary' is monotonous drivel, formlessly going through crime after crime and stripping the tragedies of any emotional impact (Marsh's black and white imagery is nice but not enough). Further, the attempt to tie the past to a bigger issue - namely, the nature of violence in America - is frail, as is the suggestion that the 'madness' of 'those days' lives on in the town's collective psyche. It sounds to me like somebody leafed through the Portable Jung a bit too quickly....