When trying to think of what my first post should be, I thought I would begin with something that has resonated with my for quite some time. Dear Zachary is a documentary that I watched almost a year ago, and it has stuck with me ever since I first watched it. One of the main reasons it has stuck with me for so long is due to how moving the documentary is.
The documentary quickly gets to the point that it is a dedication to Andrew Bagby. Kurt Kuenne, the writer, director, producer, editor, music arranger, and cinematographer of the film, was a friend of Andrew from their youth and Kuenne loved film ever since they were children. After a fatal event occurs, Kuenne decides to make a video scrapbook for Andrew’s son, Zachary, so Zachary can watch the movie later in his life and see how great of a man his father was.
The progression of the film has a fantastic pacing that gets right to the point and lingers on just the right moments to create enough suspense and impact. There was never a moment where I felt bored and wanted to switch something else on. It had natural peaks and lulls where there would be more intense moments and then more somber moments, but it added to the humanity of the piece, and it felt like the viewer was sitting in the living room of the people being interviewed and they were engaging in a normal conversation with the person being interviewed.
Since this is a documentary, it does not have actors, but the people interviewed and that are featured do create a great ensemble. Most of the film is centered around Andrew’s parents (Zachary’s grandparents) David and Kathleen, but it does include interviews from friends, extended family and even Andrew’s ex-fiancée. What made the documentary so moving was the emotionally raw interviews with David and Kathleen, because it showed a range from sadness to rage, and it never shied away from showing the entire gamut of emotions the two were feeling.
The only thing that is not overly memorable about the documentary, in my opinion, was the actual cinematography and editing. I think it was clipped together to have a great pacing, but nothing visually stood out. Some moments seemed like a nice montage of clips from when Andrew Bagby and Kurt Kuenne were children, but most of the rest of the documentary seemed like a typical crime drama. Do not get me wrong, Kuenne did a great job of piecing together all of the interviews, I just remember the story and the people in it more than I remember any of the visual aspects.
In an attempt not to post any spoilers, in case anyone reading this wants to eventually watch the documentary, I will not mention any specific details, but I will end saying this; the documentary provides a magnificent insight to the struggle of losing a loved one on horrendous terms, and it shows how dark humanity can get but what the bond of family and friends can do to help the survivors cope.
I give this documentary a 9 out of 10.
Thanks for reading this review! Feedback is welcome.