Crazy Love

18th July 2008 at 01:00
We all hate prime time Channel 5 documentaries of the kind that feature children with two heads or people who enjoy intimate relationships with the contents of the vegetable drawer, and yet we watch them
We all hate prime time Channel 5 documentaries of the kind that feature children with two heads or people who enjoy intimate relationships with the contents of the vegetable drawer, and yet we watch them.

Crazy Love, in cinemas this week, is very much in the same freak show mould. It tells the story of Linda Riss, who, at the age of 22, had liquid lye thrown in her face by her disgruntled former lover, Burton Pugach, leaving her blind and disfigured. Fifteen years later, she married him.

The Pugachs have never shied away from publicity, and this is what makes this documentary, a mixture of interviews and stock footage, so uncomfortable. Are you watching an abuser and his victim being taken advantage of by a thrill-seeking director, two unhinged self-publicists, or both?

Pugach himself is an odiously unpleasant character, who, after the attack, joked he would buy his wife-to-be a guide dog for Christmas. But Linda seems intent on sticking up for him, even appearing in court to testify on her husband's behalf when he was accused of threatening to kill his mistress. Sadly, this film never uncovers the reasons for her bizarre loyalty - vulnerability? desperation? flattery? - a revelation that would have raised it above its Channel 5 equivalents.

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