Documentary Review: Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father (2008)

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Disclaimer: Trying my hand at reviewing documentaries as well. And for that I am using a slightly different format. Yeah… disclaimer over.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father”.

What this documentary is about is filmmaker Kurt Kuenne going around interviewing people who have met, known and loved his childhood friend, Dr. Andrew Bagby. That idea seems very random at first, but you also get to know why he does this. He does this because of a tragic incident where Andrew was murdered by his ex-girlfriend Shirley Turner… who in a turn of events also happened to be pregnant with his child. So we get to see Kurt go around and interview all of these people from Andrew’s life but we also get to see how a lot of people, including Andrew’s parents trying to change the legal system for the better. And with that said, this story was not only well put together but is was also really emotional. This is a movie that obviously was very personal to Kurt and everyone else involved and I think that is what really made it all come together so well. If it had been done by any other random filmmaker trying to make something out of this I don’t think it would have been as powerful or genuine. Throughout the entire thing you get to feel all emotions you can think; sadness, joy, anger, you name it. And I am not going to lie, this movie made me cry… a lot. Rarely do I ever feel this emotionally distraught. While it was difficult at times, I still really ‘”enjoyed” (Sidenote: In lack of a better word) seeing this unfold.

One thing that really stood out to me in the documentary was the music. Not only was it fantastic, but it also really helped set the mood in a neat way. There were times when the music helped build a bit of suspense to then build up to some twist/revelation. Then there was also the music that was very emotional with a mix of strings and piano. And while most people would call that a cheap trick to get people emotional, I feel like it just worked for the movie in the right way. To really sum it up… the score for the movie was fantastic in every way.

The editing in this movie is quick, aggressive and never lingers on anything for too long. Kuenne really showed his talents as a filmmaker with this documentary. Getting good shots while filming, using cool little editing tricks to keep it interesting and also being able to switch between several people/situations with ease. I got nothing else really.

Yes, reception of said media will have a return in documentary reviews as well. That is what happens, shut up. Anyway, a lot of people seemed to like this. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a really high rating with a 94% positive rating (Sidenote: 100% if you go by “Top Critics” only). On Metacritic it has a score of 82/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,6/10 (Damn, dude).

I really feel like this documentary is a good way of testing if you are able to feel emotions or not. And I can safely say that it managed to get to me and get me all emotional. With great filmmaking, a great score and genuine emotion behind everything in this movie I am ready to hand it my final score. My final score for “Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father” is a 9,89/10. Of course it then gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”
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Review of “Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father” if completed.

If you want to know more about this, go visit http://www.dearzachary.com/ and have a look.

 

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