Published Apr 28, 2016When New Zealand arts and culture writer David Farrier — a popular television personality known for covering the fluffier side of humanity — first discovered the weird world of "competitive endurance tickling," a sport he had never heard of before that seemed too silly to be true, he did what any good journalist would do: he began digging.
The story he found was even stranger than he imagined, involving a wealthy family with a terrible secret, years of fraud and abuse, and a powerful, ominous and anonymous figure with the ability to destroy lives at will. Now, he was their new target.
Tickled follows Farrier and co-director Dylan Reeve's deep dive into a side of the internet few have seen before and the staggering discoveries they make along the way, both literal (their subjects preying on impoverished people in rural America looking to make a quick buck) and figurative (Tickled is right up there with Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room and The Fog of War when it comes to its depictions of the dark side of power). Their findings will change how you think about sharing information online and the ways it can be exploited.
Fans of Louis Theroux and his straight-laced examinations of the fringes of society will find a lot to love about Farrier, whose charismatic presence as protagonist-turned-target of a nefarious national corporation is captivating from the first few seconds of the film onwards. Reeve acts as the perfect sidekick, pushing the pair along whenever their adventure gets to be a bit too much.
For everyone else, make no mistake: this is the strangest and most shocking documentary you'll see all year.