Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father (2008) – 4/5

It’s important to go into this movie with as little knowledge of it and the case surrounding it as possible. I STRONGLY recommend you avoid reading too much about it; not from the website, not from news reports, nothing. You don’t want this movie spoiled for you, and if you go looking, it will be.

That being said, this movie is about one thing: death. It’s not particularly brilliant or unique or anything. There are certainly better documentaries out there than this. The one thing this movie does have going for it that many other films don’t, though, is its ability to evoke strong emotions in a viewer, namely, sadness and anger.

The most effective moment in the film, though, and this is going to be difficult to describe without spoiling anything, is its revelation, or twist, if you will. All is not what it seems. The movie fools you into thinking it’s about one thing with its straightforward narrative; it lulls you into thinking that you know the story, and that there’s really not much else to it but what has been presented for the last hour or so. But then, something happens. Something so shocking and disturbing that it blew me away, had me trembling and feeling sick to my stomach even. In other words, a great cinematic moment.

Which is why you should stay away from reading anything about it until after you’ve seen it. Trust me: don’t spoil it for yourself! Go into it with a clean slate!

Anyway, good film. Not great, but good, and disturbing, and sad, and very frustrating, but in a good way.

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