I want to take a moment out of this post to say that this is going to be a different type of review as it will not so much be a review, but a reflection on my first experience watching it and how it made me feel. Reviewing a documentary always seemed like a painful thing to do, but what is important about those features is how they make you feel detailing the information at hand. No humor from previous reviews will be present, so that is something we are just going to have to work with this one. Without further ado, here is Film A Week 45: Dear Zachary- A Letter to a Son About His Father.
When I was browsing through Netflix one night without anything to watch, me and my sister were in a documentary mood. I browsed through the docs section to find Dear Zachary. I heard about it before from countless sites praising it and even Rotten Tomatoes collecting the glowing review to put it at 94 percent which seem unprecedented for a documentary. I told my sister I heard of it, but it was still just a name to me at that point. We both meant into it blind with only the reviews to be the only word of it. Then we started watching… (full documentary below)
Dear Zachary is the only documentary I know that has made me feel such anger and aggression, such sorrow and pain and such passion and hopefulness. It brought me to absolute tears. The document documents the life Dr. Andrew Bagby, who was killed his wife Dr. Shirley Turner and her pregnancy of Zachary that was revealed after the murder. Bagby’s friend Kurt Kuenne decides to make the doc for Andrew’s son, Zachary, to show what an amazing life and wonderful man his father was.
At first, it is amazing to see a man with so much life and humor within himself get taken away all of a sudden. Then the events played themselves out with Turner basically turning into a psychopath and sociopath killing Andrew and leaving him on the road to die. The case that came after put a fire in me as the Canadian Judicial System set Turner free after a short time being arrested for she was not a danger to anyone else because she already killed the one person she wanted. I yelled out with bile “No one, and I mean no one, would be that fuckin’ stupid, right?,” but there it was staring me in the face. Next, Zachary was born leading to a custody battle between the parents of Andrew, David and Kathleen, after she was set free and was given joint custody with the Bagbys because, once again, she was not a danger to society anymore despite being psychological disturbed. I was already fuming as Kurt narrates ‘Dear Zachary, this is what happened…’ and so forth.
Hearing the details after this ordeal happened broke me down mentally and physically.
Zahcary Turner was killed by his mother Shirley who decided to drown Zachary and herself after taking her prescribed medicine. One subject I truly do not hearing about or discussing is the death of the child and to find out what happened to him tore me to pieces. I sobbed and I couldn’t believe such a selfish wicked act was done by a cowardly bitch who could not control herself. I i could not believe that the court would let something like this, someone like Shirley, walk away and allow this death to happen when it could have been prevented. I got mad as hell and I was ready to stop the doc…but I didn’t.
It was finally time to face the subject that upset me the most in life and stick it out. To see the struggle that grew after to get justice to make sure nothing like this occurs again is triumphant and courageous. It made me cheer for David and Kathleen Bagby to finally get the justice they deserved for both their son and his son, who are now probably resting in the afterlife knowing that justice was done. Yet, there is one core element that strikes me to loving this film story.
Andrew was a man who loved everyone and cared for everyone. He was a selfless and real, yet kept an air of mystery to him. He changed lives for the better and to see him go is a tragedy in itself. He had a nice innocence to him and Zachary was nothing but innocent. He never will get to live his life and he would never know who the man that was his father was. Everything all do to the mind of a selfish person that was prime evil and vicious in every sense. It shows that even the most unbelievable evils reality can be as terrifying as the horrors in cinema. Dear Zachary is one of the greatest films ever made for that reason alone.
Next week, we head back to the regular review format and back to Japan to cover Akira Kurosawa’s Macbeth inspired masterpiece, Throne of Blood.
Film A Week 46: Throne of Blood (1957)
Saturday, November 23