After stumbling upon a bizarre “competitive endurance tickling” video online, wherein young men are paid to be tied up and tickled, reporter David Farrier reaches out to request a story from the company.
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Although straightforward and bland in style, this doc falls squarely in the WTF? category. The tickling fetish is a bit weird, but ok, not passing judgment on a harmless fetish, however when it starts to involve threats, intimidation and harassment of participants lured into it by financial need, then it becomes apparent that this isn't about a tickling fetish. It's about how the rich and powerful abuse their power.
As a doco it doesn't reinvent the wheel but the case-study is fascinating and the anxiety generated is palpable as it takes us well down the rabbit hole ala Theroux into a world of power and egomania. Highly recommended! 4 stars
People are bizarre, people are strange, people are us. I get it: if I had that much money and that much free time, I would invest on my fetishes as well - less the "manipulative bitchness" part. Farrier conducts his movie with newsmaking hand, and it kinda ruins the impact of its ending. With more emotion and a little bit more storytelling skills this could have been Catfish good.
A brave piece of doc filmmaking that's been slapped with lawsuits at every screening yet, and - maybe even more commendable - a demonstrated, even devout, commitment to the weird. There's a certain type of absurdist awe, the realization that the world is stranger than we knew, that this film elicits, and that always earns my gratitude. A solid 3.5 despite Basic Investigative Doc format & slightly problematic ending.
From seemingly innocuous, even ridiculous, beginnings, Tickled builds gradually towards a sustained, unbearable tension. Formally straightforward, it traces a relentless trajectory, finally terminating outside the film itself, soon after the premiere of its follow-up short, The Tickle King, in a tragedy that must have spooked the filmmakers badly, bleakly punctuating their excavation of desire, cruelty and shame.