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

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

Director – Kurt Kuenne (Shuffle)

Cast – Kurt Kuenne, Andrew Bagby, David Bagby, Kathleen Bagby, Shirley Turner

Plot – Documentary filmmaker Kurt Kuenne sets out on a journey to examine the life of his recently murdered best friend Andrew Bagby as a tribute to their long-term friendship.

“I didn’t want to stop making this movie”

Review by Eddie on 29/08/2018

There are very few films ever released that have the raw power and emotion that documentary Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father has within it.

I still remember the day I sat down to watch filmmaker Kurt Kuenne’s deeply personal film about his murdered long-time friend Dr. Andrew Bagby and the effect the film had on me (the film is in my top 30 films of all-time) from the moment it started until the moment it finished, it’s an effect I’ve rarely ever had from a film and it’s an experience that will live with me forever, such is the undeniable power of this once in a lifetime experience.

Dear Zachary has in the year’s since its low-key release in 2008 become a film that is oft talked about in online circles as one of the greatest documentaries ever made and a film that has the ability to shock and awe like none other.

It’s an experience that is best watched with as little knowledge as possible, as while Kuenne’s film is rough around the edges and at times even amateurish in its approaches, there’s something magical and heartfelt within it that makes Kuenne’s documentary the experience it has become renowned to be.

Filled with both amazing and terrifying real-life characters that are larger than life in many instances, Kuenne carefully considered and deeply heartfelt examination of the life of his dear friend and those that were a part of his journey is filled with hilariously real insights and stunningly heartbreaking revelations about the circumstances surrounding the death of Dr. Bagby and the after-affects the followed.

The other powerful component of Dear Zachary is in its honest examination of the justice system that was present at the time in America and Canada and the way in which Kuenne explores the failure of these areas in the case of the Bagby murder is heartbreaking and highly informative, adding another layer entirely to this otherwise very intimate and unforgettable tale.

Final Say –

If there’s ever a film that will break your heart as well as fill it with gladness about the good people in the world its Dear Zachary, a truly life-affirming and life-shattering journey, Kuenne’s documentary is a must-watch and quite possibly the most powerful documentary ever produced.

5 home movies out of 5

4 responses to “Classic Review – Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father (2008)

  1. I have never been as emotionally manipulated by anything as I was by this film, and I mean that in the most complimentary way possible. It’s structure and execution are perfectly tuned to wring a reaction out of the viewer and it is an incredible achievement in documentary filmmaking. Great review!

  2. I first saw this film around 2010. In 2012, I recommended it to another blogger who was overtaken by it. It’s one of those true-life films that are unforgettable.

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