Jeff's Reviews

Thoughts on every movie I've ever seen.

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

Directed by Kurt Kuenne

Starring Kurt Kuenne, Andrew Bagby, David Bagby, Kathleen Bagby

Author

Tragic, for sure, what this poor couple had to go through. But the filmmaker tried his hardest to botch it.

I had a real issue with how this thing was made. It’s slickly and kinetically edited, but the dizzyingly cross-cut footage and interviews do nothing other than call attention to the fact that they are dizzyingly cross-cut. Sappy music plays over the sad parts, scary music plays over the scary parts. Photos are manipulated so that lips almost humorously move with the dialogue. Footage is reused multiple times for dramatic effect when it’s needed most. Foley artists add inappropriate sound effects, including a record scratching when we’re thrown a surprise plot twist.

Really? We’re supposed to be taking this seriously? It’s over-produced and disrespectful to those involved.

And there were times when I felt like this movie was really more for Kurt than it was for Zachary. He didn’t need to keep referencing himself. If this was really for David and Zachary, let it be all about them.

Critics loved it, but when the filmmaker doesn’t go on to make anything else worthwhile, perhaps they’re distracted by the subject matter from the sloppy filmmaking.

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