Movie Review: Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father (2008)

Zachary Andrew and Kurt Kuenne in Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father
Photo: Oscilloscope Pictures

From out of nowhere came a documentary called Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father. I knew nothing about it and hadn’t even heard about it in passing, but good buzz always bends my ear and I had to do something about solving the problem. Two days later the film was in my hot little hands and I plugged it into the player not knowing what I was in for over the next 95 minutes. The title gave me some idea, but I can’t say I was entirely prepared.

Directed by Kurt Kuenne, the intention of the film was to give Zachary Andrew a living documentary about his murdered father since he would never actually meet him. At the opening of the film Kuenne’s narration begins by telling us his goals, but all the while saying he doesn’t know at what point he will actually be able to say he is done with the project. As you learn over the course of the feature the end is rather arbitrary since Kurt isn’t guiding the project as much as the project is guiding him. Tragic as it may be.

Depending on your need for shock, awe, horror and heartfelt human emotion you can do one of two things: 1) search the Internet for information on Andrew Bagby, Zachary Andrew and Andrew’s murderer Shirley Turner, or 2) go into this movie 100% cold and get ready to learn of a story you won’t believe you haven’t heard about. I leave that up to you because either way I think you will come away with your jaw slightly more agape if not completely floored.

This all comes with the side note that this film is indeed made by an amateur filmmaker who makes a few choices for dramatic effect that didn’t necessarily need to be used considering the details of the story are more than enough to get the point across. However, this flick wasn’t made to win awards, it was made to tell a story, a story that seems as if it will never end and was inspired and continually driven by good people from all over the world including trips to Canada and the UK. Kurt Kuenne put his work in on a project of passion and came out with a story that seems as fueled by revenge as it is by love. It’s an interesting stroke of genius and a story you won’t believe once you see it.