Shorties #22: Documentary Edition

I don’t watch a lot of documentaries. I don’t know why, but I’d rather watch a feature film than a documentary, though, for the past holiday, I decided to watch at least a few of them. Turns out they’re quite fun. Here are a couple of the documentaries that I saw during my time off. They’ll be reviewed in the following order: Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His FatherRecovery BoysOnly the DeadTower, and Tickled.

Dear Zachary

If you’re planning to become both angry and sad, then this is the documentary for you. The way the story is told was creative and gives it a lot of intrigue and emotional impact as more and more things are revealed. It’s a touching documentary that makes you care for the people in it, and it makes you feel like you’ve actually known them. The way Kurt Kuenne films his movie feels very personal and it’s done with a lot of care. The factual bits are brought in a creative manner, which makes them already interesting, but you’ll also start to want to learn more solely because you’re so invested in the people involved. I don’t want to spoil a lot about this was, so I’ll leave it at this, just keep in mind that it’s an emotional ride.

Grade: A

Recovery boys

Another emotional film is Recovery Boys. In the documentary, we follow a hand full of men who were once addicted to something as they’re trying to kick it. During the film’s runtime, you’ll get to know these men by heart and you’ll start to care about them. You’ll follow them through the ups and downs in the process and you’ll start to want them to get better. It’s a gorgeously shot film that really tries to capture the things these men are going through and it does so beautifully. Not ever have I been as invested in a documentary as I’ve been while watching Recovery Boys.


Grade: A+

Only the Dead

Only the Dead is an intense documentary that delves deeper into what war does to a person, but not just any person, the director himself. The film basically serves as a character study of him as we watch how far he’s willing to go for his documentary. His voice-over could be problematic at times in the film, as it often feels like he was putting on a trailer-guy voice, which made everything shown feel less believable, even though the things the projected were as real as they could be. There’s some striking imagery in this film and I recommend you watch it.

Grade: B+


A lot of documentaries present their film creatively, but there’s never been one that did it the same way Tower did it that made it visually unique; using rotoscope. The story it tells was interesting and something I hadn’t heard of before. The documentary felt more like a feature film than a documentary, and this really suited the story it wanted to tell. This approach lent the film to have some genuinely intense sequences. The style also made the film more immersive and made you care more for the characters, plus the fact that everything really happened gives it that constant on edge feeling. Another thing I liked was how the director utilized color and how it could be used to add to the emotional punch.

Grade: A-


Tickled is a very surprising and intense documentary about tickling. We follow a New-Sealand journalist as he stumbles upon a tickling competition video. When he decides to do more research on the subject, he’s suddenly heads deep in the dark world of tickling, filled with blackmail and strange fetishes. The more he discovers, the absurder it gets and it’s all presented in an intriguing way, led by a charming documentarian who’s able to bring in some humor when needed and ask the questions that you as an audience member are wondering. It’s a strange, but certainly interesting documentary and it’s far from what you’d expect it to be. If you’ve finished watching the documentary, I recommend the follow up short film that’s available on YouTube.

Grade: A+


9 thoughts on “Shorties #22: Documentary Edition

    1. It’s an HBO film, so maybe you can find it there. It’s on Netflix in Belgium, though, probably because we don’t have HBO and no other distributor had bought the rights.


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