Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father | Documentary Review
by Tommy L
Filmmaker Kurt Kuenne's personal attachment to this story is not only relevant, it is vital to the success of this film. Had this story been covered by a news magazine, it would have had a completely different slant that could not match the sometimes overwhelming personalization found in Mr. Kuenne's version of accounts.
You should also know that had this story been covered by a news magazine it still would have been engaging, awe-inspiring and hurtful to watch. Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father | Documentary ReviewDear Zachary
is about the murder of a beloved man, Andrew Bagby, by his girlfriend. But the story weaves through a broken legal system in Canada and the United States as Mr. Bagby's parents fight for the right to raise Andrew's son. Turns out, that Mr. Bagby's killer/girlfriend was pregnant with his child at the time she committed this violent crime.
Kate and David Bagby, equally loved and admired by anyone who was fortunate to come across them, had to ask their son's killer for visitation rights. They had to play the game that their son's killer was playing with regard to the raising of Zachary.
Dear Zachary's filmmaking pace keeps you on edge throughout the film. The film is not over-wrought with slick graphics or a deep-voiced narrator. And this simplistic approach lends to the credibility and personalized approach in the telling of this story. Again, had this documentary been produced by a conglomerate of talented people the story would still be engaging and heart-warming. Personally, I am glad that Mr. Kuenne utilized little Hollywood storytelling effects. That said, there were moments when post-production work helped to move the story forward.
With a legal battle taking a primary role in this story, there is a lot of back and forth between judges, lawyers and lawmakers. But beyond that there is even more back and forth between the many friends that the Bagby family accumulated over their lives.
This is a very personal account of a series of tragic events. As the end credits rolled, I sat in silence and pondered the very nature of God and existence. Why do bad things happen to good people? How can victims be treated with less legal regard than their attackers? Why am I so lucky to have not had to face any of the challenges that the Bagby family went through. This is a film that will resonate within me for years to come.
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