Keith Allen (a vastly underrated and underused British actor whose credits include Shallow Grave) initially narrates the archive footage but then he actually hosts the rest of the documentary, conducting interviews not only with the child prodigy - now grown and operationally transformed into a rather strange woman - but also her entire crazy family. Whilst it starts as a seemingly normal documentary where the host simply extorts information out of his victims, Allen takes a refreshingly fresh approach and goes straight for the jugular, tearing apart the family's myths and fantasies one by one with solid research and logical argument. Every family member has the same Masters qualification in Metaphysics - and it turns out that they are all, funnily enough, self-certified. In fact, all of the dozens of qualifications that they each profess to have are completely fabricated. They live their lives within a fantasy world that Allen infiltrates and then tears apart to expose the truth.
It is difficult to sell a documentary as a DVD purchase because these days movies simply do it better. Biopics and historical epics are all the rage at the moment and with the ridiculous reality TV boom that has submerged Channel 4 in mindless, lowest common denominator drivel, I have little time for any of their 'reality' offerings. But this is somehow different and I think that it is mainly because of the presence of the charismatic Keith Allen. He treats the subject matter the way a normal, average every-day person would treat it - asking all of the questions that you would want him to ask, irrespective of the trouble it gets him into. Aside from the unique insight into a deranged family that exists somewhere out there in Wales, we also get a breathtaking new approach to documentary-making that I hope eventually permeates through to all such Channel 4 productions. It made for refreshing, if fairly disturbing, viewing.
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