Directed by Kurt Kuenne
Dear Zachary is the most personal film I’ve ever seen – raw, human and painfully upsetting. Kurt Kuenne tells the story of his murdered friend Andrew through the home movies they made together, and interviews with everyone Andrew loved, as a message to Andrew’s son Zachary. We get to know Andrew as a kind-hearted, comically self-deprecating chubby young doctor, before meeting the woman who shot him dead in a park after he rejected her. The documentary then follows his parents’ quest for justice and the custody of his unborn child.
At one point everything looks like it will work out well, and Zachary begins to experience a loving home environment, before the Canadian legal system releases his mother on bail. She spends the next few months torturing Andrew’s parents with infrequent supervised visits and growing demands for money before, finally, she kills again.
Although the film threatens to turn overtly political, and it does wear its biases on its sleeve with editing that can seem emotionally manipulative, these biases and emotions are one hundred per cent justified.
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Andrew’s parents turn out to be simply too good for this shitty world, and Dear Zachary is the strongest argument for vigilante killing I have seen, period. It had the audience shaking, crying and calling out for justice from our seats. Then we had to go and get drunk because it was all too much.