David Farrier & Dylan Reeve's Tickled is a fascinating investigative documentary following Journalist David Farrier as he stumbles upon the mysterious world of competitive tickling. A journalist who has made his career on profiling the fringe of society, Farrier becomes enamored by this strange "sport", but as he delves deeper into the organization responsible for hosting these tickling events he is met by fierce resistance, which only makes him even more curious to get to the bottom of this story. Told very much in the mystery/thriller, investigative journalism style, Tickled is the type of documentary that is hard to at least not enjoy simply for its mystery narrative, though I'd be hard-pressed to call this film anything more than a passable as it pertains to documentary filmmaking. Tickled is a film that is far too didactic in approach, often using style such as slow motion photography and music cues in an attempt to frame the expected audiences reaction. The narrative of this documentary is also a tad too didactic, as the journalist/filmmakers don't rely on visual storytelling, often narrating much of the film, almost as if the worry the audience won't be able to keep up. Still, Tickled is straight-forward and relatively engaging, having all the elements of a powerful documentary, but what becomes so frustrating about Tickled is the missed opportunities on a thematic level. Touching on various themes centered around corruption, influence, money, power, control, sexuality, and homophobia, Tickled is a film that only scratches the surface of its various complexities, instead simply relying on the sheer discovery of the perverse truth behind this competitive tickling ring, which certainly is fascinating but unquestionably a missed opportunity. Some may argue that Tickled simply doesnt want to jump to the conclusions, and while I can respect that argument, Tickled needed to be a little more forceful in its execution, relying too much on narrative. One great example is the film never touching on how the organization's primary tool for control was relying on homophobic society, using sham to primary gain power over these masculine, typically stocky men. A documentary that should be quite enjoyable to the mainstream film lover looking for something outside the box, Tickled is an enjoyable, unique story that only scratces the surface when considering the potential of its subject matter.
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