Tickled Screen 11 articles



Tickled Poster
  • [A misstep] leaves the film, an otherwise remarkable feat of persistence, feeling flimsier than its enigmatic composition would suggest. “If you want to stick your head in a blast furnace, do it,” warns one of three men D'Amato sends to Auckland, and though the remark lights an admirable fire under the filmmakers, Tickled never generates enough heat to make good on the metaphor.

  • [The directors'] approach takes part in what might be called the Ira Glass Fallacy, mistaking detail for substance, a conflation that’s unfortunately becoming more widespread in nonfiction as middlebrow tastemakers treat “long-form” as a noun and an end in itself. Farrier and Reeve are more specifically casualties of the Serial Corollary, zooming in so closely on individual puzzle pieces that it’s no longer possible to keep the complete picture in focus.

  • Via voiceover and in scene, [Farrier is] funny, pithily engaging, self-deprecating. He’s also, along with his co-director Dylan Reeve, apt to get laughs first, and ask questions later. Time and again, we’re introduced to a new subject through a sight gag. The VO sets the stage, then we cut to a face, or to a man being tickled, and laughter ensues. The cut, in this approach, is Pavlovian in its effects—it’s an edit as punchline.

  • The film’s real problem is that Farrier and Reeve never manage to penetrate very far into the perpetrator’s secretive world, and can only reach feature length by padding things out... All the same, Tickled does shine a much-needed light on that individual’s long history of abusive behavior, which has resulted in only a light slap on the wrist, thanks to inherited wealth and the power it confers.

  • The directors more or less stick to the documentary-as-investigation model, in which a filmmaker plays the onscreen investigator-inquisitor. Mr. Farrier, however, is less of a showboat than some documentarians who assume that role, and, after a while, this measured quality feels as much an ethical choice as a matter of temperament. He and Mr. Reeve see the humor, but they also see the pathos — because it’s all fun and giggles until someone gets hurt.

  • The moviemakers craft a satisfying narrative while leaving the viewer with some questions; this is a movie that manages to be disquieting and entertaining simultaneously. You will believe, unfortunately, that a man can build something that can be called “a tickling empire.”

  • The film thrums with the energy of All the President’s Men, and is as much as conspiracy thriller as its fictional forbears. It’s old media versus new, as Farrier and Reeve take on a cyber-threat with on-the-ground investigation tactics. As a piece of craft, Tickled is a compelling journalism procedural. As the plot twists temper on repeat viewing, its paean to good old-fashioned reportage will endure.

  • It’s a supremely compelling story, even if it peters out somewhat in its rushed, indelicate final stages. Farrier, too, does the film no favours by trying to summarise what the film is really “about” in his sign-off, suggesting that he may not fully comprehend the richness of his own material. Even so, it really is a funny one.

  • If you think you’ve seen every “Man, this shit goes deep” scenario under the sun, check out David Farrier and Dylan Reeve’s entertaining investigative documentary... Tickled is hardly art—there’s nary a moment of aesthetic interest throughout—but it has narrative drive, and its insistence that nefarious forces are where you least expect them grants the film an undeniable, paranoiac urgency.

  • What [Farrier] discovers — after a multi-year journey that takes him and Reeve all across the United States — is a spectacular tale filled with intrigue, menace and secrets reaching back decades.

  • This documentary directed by David Farrier and Dylan Reeve about an online tickling racket is probably the most disturbing and maybe the most relevant release of the year, a true story that seems to uncover a culprit who couldn’t be more purely evil.

More Links