Documentary Review: Tiger King – Murder, Mayhem and Madness (Netflix)

Released on Netflix in March 2020, Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness is a true-crime documentary about the life of Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage, popularly known as Joe Exotic, a mulleted, gun-toting polygamist and country-western singer. The documentary focusses on the deeply interconnected society of the stranger-than-fiction world of big cat owners, which also includes Joe’s biggest rival, Carole Baskin, owner of Big Cat Rescue, who accuses Joe of abusing and exploiting wild animals and threatens to put them out of business. The rivalry eventually leads to Joe’s arrest for a murder-for-hire plot, as the documentary reveals a twisted tale where the only thing more dangerous than a big cat is its owner.

Overall Season Rating:

Netflix must have known that a worldwide lockdown was on its way because Tiger King is a binge-worthy series of the highest order. Full of eccentric personalities including drug kingpins, conmen, and cult leaders, everybody in this series is full-on crazy and there’s so much going on that it’s hard to believe that you haven’t heard anything about these people before.

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to watch this series when it was first released because I couldn’t imagine how the story of a wild animal owner could link to a murder-for-hire plot, but this documentary series is pure entertainment. It’s equal measures of intriguing and disturbing, making you laugh at the absolutely bonkers things that go on in the narrow-sighted world of these people, but also opening your eyes to the cruelty going on in these facilities as well as the minds of their owners.

But there’s two stories in this documentary. The first of Joe Exotic and his cat empire, and the second of how Carole Baskins [possibly] murdered her husband. Who would have thought that there could be even more going on in their already busy lives? It’s hard to believe that these people thought that their conspicuous actions would go unnoticed?

The cruelty of the animals involved is unforgivable, but the actions of these humans are laughable. More fool them for being so openly malicious people, but thank you for amusing us during these unprecedented times.

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About Charlie Morris

Proofreader and film blogger living in Cornwall.

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