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

Not Rated   |    |  Documentary, Biography, Crime


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

A filmmaker decides to memorialize a murdered friend when his friend's ex-girlfriend announces she is expecting his son.


8.5/10
33,942

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Cast & Crew

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Director:

Kurt Kuenne

Writer:

Kurt Kuenne

Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews


5 July 2008 | dalefried
10
| Groundbreaking Roller Coaster Few Will See
One of the pleasures of an all access pass to film festivals is the opportunity to be drawn to something by word of mouth. I was accidentally standing outside the theatre after the first viewing of this film at the Sarasota Film Festival. Everyone coming out was raving about it, a film that I had originally pegged as just another manipulative true crime documentary. Most had been crying like babies. My freedom at the venue allowed me to change from a viewing of Priceless to this film. I had no idea I was waking into a wall of cinematic fury.

To say it was staggering is inadequate. The impact of it all is in part driven by style. Though the form is a traditional overlapping story structure, the frenetic pace of the presentation creates a sense many times of 'too much information'. Mixed in however are some stylistic tricks that act as accent marks to move your perception to one place versus others. This moves your feelings in one direction or another within the time frame of larger movements of emotion that drive the story. The technique, though not unique, is applied in the course of a story that would seem to demand more subtly, however, it works wonderfully. Could it be that within this piece of time about a very personal tragedy a new documentary form emerges?

But the story and the trek to get through it are what keeps you glued. I will not go into the morphology of the multiplex of stories here since it would ruin the impact. Leave it to say that constant unexpected change ups give one the feeling you are on a roller coaster of emotional complexity. The net effect leaves you nearly breathless and, as one sobbing young woman I convinced to see the film told me, in desperate need of water.

The film ends with a seemingly endless list of all involved, most at least tangentially affected by the event if not actually in the film content. As you absorb the story's impact, consider that the true theme of the film is to introduce you to this virtual community of people discovered by this young filmmaker who started with an homage to his best friend and ended up capturing something far more profound.

There are many moments where we try to take solace in the good that can come from the horrid. After viewing this, ask yourself that even though all involved would have wished for the events not to have happened, the emotional fulfillment exuding from this film may have left all surviving the better for it. This filmmaker's love letter to his vastly extended family that grew out of the tragedy and his odyssey documenting it make for the kind of things we most look forward to in the cinema.

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,886 2 November 2008

Gross USA:

$18,334

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$18,334

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