- Running time:
- 95 minutes
- Kurt Kuenne
- Official Movie Web Site:
- Overall User Rating:
- (1 rating)
Filmmaker Kurt Kuenne began this documentary as a tribute to his late friend, Dr. Andrew Bagby, intended for Bagby’s son Zachary, who never had a chance to meet his father. The result tracks the shocking/infuriating/heart-wrenching investigation into Bagby’s murder and an equally emotional custody battle that ensued over Zachary, all a matter of public record and fodder for news headlines.
The buzz: Audiences unfamiliar with this true story are in for a wild ride, while anyone already knowledgeable about the events will likely find their understanding deepened by Kuenne’s intimate portrait. The movie also received critical praise at this year’s Slamdance film festival.
The verdict: Kuenne’s flashy ambitions as a filmmaker aren’t always matched by his still developing skills, and he’s a little too willing to withhold information to manipulate viewer emotions. But, flaws aside, “Dear Zachary” is an impressive piece of work that easily ranks as one of the year’s best documentaries. There are plenty of big ideas lurking beneath the surface of the story’s true crime sensationalism. The extensive yet briskly edited talking head interviews illuminate how the seemingly small details of life add up to a complete picture of a person, and the prevailing focus on Bagby’s parents creates an inspiring portrait of the courage to go on living in the wake of unimaginable grief.
Did you know? If you want to more about the story you can also check out the book “Dane with the Devil: A Memoir of Murder and Loss,” by Andrew’s father David Bagby.