As with The Jinx, a simple take-away is this: you get someone who has a *lot* of personal identity issues and a *lot* of New York family money, and it makes for a ridiculously dangerous combination - emphasis on both ridiculous and dangerous.
This was riveting material as a mystery-unfolds story, though the filmmaking is fairly standard as an expose (you can't help but feel suspense for the directors as they have to do literal stake-outs outside of places like the 'Tickle' video building, where as if out of the Joker's hide-out you can hear the barbaric sounds of laughter wafting out of the windows, or when they wait for days to find the one car that belongs to the now-late David D'Amato). It gets stronger and more disturbing as it goes along as the directors discover more and more in places they weren't necessarily looking; at first they were simply looking into another tickling-fetish video company out of Orlando not related to the group that was trying to "sue" the filmmakers (in quotes as it turned out to be a bust). Then this leads from one person to another, and it turns out to be aliases and undercover identities, stolen social security numbers from dead people, and a figure who was once an assistant principal at a school.
I thought at first this was going to all be some sort of goof, even into the first minute or so of the interview with the first "tickled" subject who agreed to talk on camera (face and all, not in the shadows or only just a voice or so on). What this so-called 'company' did is mortifying, and all for what is on one hand a seemingly innocent and on the other hand is disquieting; think about the times that you have, as a child, been tickled by your parents or tickle siblings or friends, and all in a having-fun sort of way. The manner in which some of these tickling videos were presented, one expects the Gimp from Pulp Fiction might appear to either tickle or be tickled.
And yet people going into this doc should know it's not an exploration of ticklers like, say, Hot Girls Wanted where it's about the subjects in the videos. It touches somewhat on the fetish, but this, aside from some curious homosexual aspects (and I mean that not in any gross way, simply that it's interesting that it's all men and that David D'Amato is one of those highly ashamed gay men of wealth and prestige and projects that on to others), is more about the depths of WTF that go into this "Tiffany Tickle" or whatever her name was and how she is really this one man D'Amato.
It's about power and control, and how it corrupts and makes humans into monsters, which slightly, thematically, connects back to how tickling in these videos is about submission and domination and being emasculated under intense pressure (again they're *all* young, well-built men in the videos, never women, never men older than, say, 24). In that way, Tickled can't help but hold out attention - not to mention a final, devastating phone conversation with D'Amato's step-mother.
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