Talhotblond: Barbara Schroeder

Talhotblond: Barbara Schroeder
Neighbours and co-workers knew Thomas Montgomery, a 47-year-old factory worker long ago expelled from the Marines for alcoholism, as a nice enough, if slightly awkward, family man. What they didn't know was that he had concocted an alter ego online known as marinesniper, pretending to be 30 years his junior in order to chat up much younger women. Enter Jessi, a spunky high school student known online as talhotblond, who is more than happy to send out provocative pictures of herself, engaging in cybersex and mailing out lingerie to her internet boyfriend. And while their little tête-à-têtes to the tune of the optimistic, "I'm rubbing my nine-inch snake on your nipple" and the ever-romantic "mmmmmm" were harmless enough, Montgomery's wife was less than impressed when she found a package in the mail with soiled women's panties in it. She responded by sending Jessi a note with a family photo, pointing out that she was actually having sex chats with a creepy old man. From here, things spiralled out of control. Jessi made contact with one of Montgomery's co-workers, Brian (known online without irony as "beefcake"), unknowingly putting his life in jeopardy. Schroeder's documentary details this story with linear progression, deliberately masking key points for dramatic effect in the latter portion. Thomas Montgomery shares his side of the story, while the prosecutor and a clinical psychiatrist fill in the blanks, providing some context to his biased perspective. Schroeder also includes commentary from the many chats the internet lovers had to break up the talking head segments, revealing candid sexual discussions, professions of love and enraged threats involving gang rape and murder. While the documentary has an understandably grave tone, some of these online chats do elicit inappropriate laughter, leaving us to wonder why a hot 18-year-old girl would be spending so much time on the internet sex chatting with strangers. Most people should know by now that attractive online gals without webcams that willingly send out alluring photos are actually obese, homosexual males. If simple, the doc effectively engages throughout, even if the final act treads on morally ambiguous territory, professing a desire to make black & white a very grey area. No supplemental material is included, which is standard for television docs. (Paramount)