Director Broomfield (“Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer”) exploits his charmingly klutzy persona as the fish-out-of-water Brit to get close to the African American community in South Central LA where he investigates a serial killer who ran amuck for two decades before his arrest in 2010. But en route to the truth, Broomfield pokes holes in the case, and the prosecution, revealing a sordid history of municipal neglect and police discrimination happening in Los Angeles.
Sure to push buttons, this bracing film premiered at TIFF and opens in LA December 11 and NYC December 18 via HBO Films ahead of its April premiere on HBO. Alongside more widely regarded contenders “CITIZENFOUR,” “The Overnighters,” “Keep on Keepin’ On” and more, “Tales of the Grim Sleeper” is on the Academy’s shortlist of 15 films vying for the Best Documentary Feature Oscar. It’s certainly one of the most startling.