Review

  • Warning: Spoilers
    Please don't read this review if you want to avoid a spoiler.

    Documentaries like this are what make Netflix more than worth the money. This is an interesting exposé of David D'Amato, an obese, troubled and wealthy American gay man who has built up what can only be described as an international tickling-porn exploitation ring. For many years, his network has found and paid indigent young men to do these videos.

    The videos are not done naked, so somehow this gay man has (with bizarre homophobic logic) convinced himself that it is not gay. If a young man crosses him at some point (e.g. by stopping), he retaliates by doxing and humiliating the hapless young man all over the internet and by sending revealing, hateful and lurid correspondence to everyone in the young man's life, including his parents, his employers, and so on.

    The porn producers and tickle-porn actors are understandably terrified of him. In carrying out these activities, he has (apparently and allegedly) committed several crimes, including identity theft, impersonating a lawyer, extortion, visa fraud and so on.

    Our stalwart filmmakers include David Farrier, a New Zealand reporter quite similar to Louis Theroux, who stumbles onto all this and documents what he finds. He faces a shitstorm of rather intimidating legal action from this guy and his minions. However, he pursues it diligently, and with one or two really lucky breaks he succeeds in exposing the whole exploitation ring to the world and identifying this horrible man.

    At some point, this movie changed direction: what happens when a lowly and unresourced investigative journalist, taking on the role that should really be carried out by police and prosecutors, decides to expose the malevolent and possibly criminal practices of a wealthy scumbag to the world? David and Dylan turn out to have huge balls, because once the sh*t starts flying they just go after him even more.

    It really is a remarkable movie and a decent bit of investigative journalism. We should support David Farrier and Dylan Reeve for their bravery and professionalism, as they battle lawsuits initiated by this nutcase even as you're reading this. Fortunately, HBO and Magnolia picked up the movie and hopefully made it worthwhile.