REVIEW: Tickled

16 07 2016

TickledThe World Wide Web has been around now for roughly a quarter-century, which means that we’re probably about ready to start looking back to the technology’s early days for lessons pertinent to its present and future. Much in the same way that Ondi Timoner’s 2009 documentary “We Live in Public” provided scary context for the phenomena of social media, David Farrier and Dylan Reeve’s “Tickled” gives an early window into a new Internet dilemma: revenge porn.

Farrier, primarily a celebrity and entertainment journalist in New Zealand before the film, began the project like a typical human interest story. He stumbled upon bizarre videos of “competitive endurance tickling” and began making some preliminary inquiries into this unreported world. His questions are met with homophobia (striking, given how homoerotic the all-male videos appear) as well as threatened legal action, both of which only pique his interest.

Along with co-director Reeve, these Kiwis journey to America to take on the deep-pocketed bullies who will stop at nothing to halt their investigative eyes. Farrier and Reeve dig for the truth in the dark shadows of Hollywood, the economically scourged heartland of Michigan, the fetishistic corners of Florida and ultimately the privileged buttresses of New York privilege. From the veritable Wild, Wild West of the Internet of the late ’90s to the video-saturated web of today, they cut through layers of smoke screens and cash-padded baloney to reveal the scary truth about these “tickle cells.” The less you know before seeing “Tickled,” the better. That way, you can react both vocally and viscerally. B+ / 3stars



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