Ooh.. who's this guy? // source: "Tickled" / Vendetta Films
Yeah - I know, quite the title for a review, but it's true. I don't know how it happens, or why it does, but I can't get my head around how someone could get hard over tickling someone. Oh well.. To each their own.. Moving on.. during my time in Wellington, I was able to duck out of the house and watch Tickled - the new smash-hit documentary from David Farrier (light entertainment reporter) and Dylan Reeve (editor and tech-wiz guy). Something that I loved from start to end and had me concerned for the lives of the filmmakers and those involved.
What was more entertaining to ponder, was how the mostly anonymous antagonist was so fucking dumb to do one thing that a good webmaster never does (a complete spoiler that will have its own warning of the review for, so don't worry about it). On second thought.. that's probably enough of that..1 You'll need to watch the film to find out and fully understand that stroked out 'meme'.
As further speculated in a report from VICE New Zealand, where Farrier says that someone forwarded him a link to Jane O'Brien Media, a website dedicated in searching for fit and young men around the world for some "Competitive Endurance Tickling" sport, to then travel them to L.A. (paid for), house them in a fancy hotel (paid for), film the guys in groups of 4 to 6 in a studio tickling each other for hours at a time and then pay them $1,500 USD (did I mention that the expenses were covered as well?)...
Oh look.. I'm waffling over how ridiculous and how incredibly homoerotic the scheme is. Getting back on track...:
Farrier tries to establish some contact between himself and Jane O'Brien Media, thinking that he's got his next light entertainment story for the news, however, after he does so.. he gets a rather interesting Facebook comment to his request:
source: "Tickled" trailer (NZ) // YouTube
source: "Tickled" trailer (US) // YouTube
.. to be brutally frank, association with a homosexual journalist is not something that will embrace.
Of course, although the nature of the comments were more derogatory within the film itself, Farrier not only shrugged it off - but was intrigued to pursue it further.
With the help of a fellow friend, Dylan Reeve, and after embarking on a simple WHOIS lookup on the domain, janeobrienmedia.com, finding that a single company registered that domain name (based in Germany) and that a few several hundred other domains relating to the topic of tickling had been registered under the same company name - the wheels were set in motion for Farrier and Reeve to investigate further and make a documentary on.
After Tickled sets itself up, the rest of the film follows our two kiwi protagonists as they travel their investigation through the copious amounts of cunty representatives of Jane O'Brien from New York (only took three) traveling to Auckland to meet with Farrier and Reeve to deter them from making the film - then traveling over to L.A. themselves to see what was being made, looking at the Tickling subgenre of Fetish soft-core porn and how others were being affected by what was presented as a large, evil and shadowed antagonist behind Jane O'Brien Media.
That's all I'm giving. Watch the Film!
4.8 / 5 huge popped popcorn kernals
in other words... I Fucking Loved It.
Yes, this film is one that I highly regard for several different reasons. Right from the editing (with the pacing of the story, events of how things unfolded and how particular moments were presented) to the cinematography, a quirky and original musical score (which I hope will be released on iTunes / Google Play at a later stage) and even the story in general: all of these fused together so well and made one hell of a stellar documentary that will more than likely be discussed about throughout lecture halls in years to come.
This documentary proves that the genre is more than just viable in a day and age where typical movies being released are either trying to hard to be artsy-fartsy [etc. just look at fictional festival films], or reusing pre-existing IPs to make an extra few million bucks here and there (or in some cases, to mash those existing IPs together) [etc. every single Marvel film] - especially because of the unique story that Farrier and Reeve had discovered and continued to go with, even when you consider that they had legal shit and constant threats following them around. The fact that the composition and framing of some shots within the film made it look beautiful and cinematic (you could also thank the DOP's choice for shooting most of the thing on a Sony F55 - with ultra wide angled lenses and electronic telezoom functionality, used for Television news reports).
This work reminds me of John Sweeney's Scientology & Me, made for the BBC's Panorama programme, and is a bit like it as well. I like it: The chase to find some taboo truth - as well as being chased by something bigger.. something that could easily take a filmmaker/investigator out. It took Sweeney out [e.g.: going overboard with his "No Tommy, You Weren't There!" speech at Scientology's 'Psychiatry is Evil' exhibition] - but given their determination to get to the bottom of all of the revelations made in Tickled, Farrier and Reeve didn't give in. Possibly even scoring one of the most hilarious interview responses, kept for the end of the film (no spoilers).
Footnote & Other Things.
Hint: The same thing happened in NZ. That's the only clue you're getting. ↩
Just before I end this... I will say that I've done a bit of my own investigative work on the subject matter of the documentary.. and I've uncovered some quite saddening stuff... Including websites specifically made to intimidate those who went into those tickling videos for janeobrienmedia.com and had possibly gone against them..
To save you from spoilers, I will publish my findings in a later post.
P.S: If Kevin Clarke or anyone from Jane O'Brien Media contacts me with anything, even threats - I will update this post accordingly. I say this, because of the fact that it has happened to other people who have blogged about the film as well.