Tickled is basically a film about how the YouTube-based world of “competitive tickling” is a run by a secretive exploitative millionaire named David D’Amato, a man who inherited his fortune and served as an assistant principal to 8 different high schools over the course of just 10 years. D’Amato would pay young straight men to tickle and be tickled by their friends, all on film, all completely clothed, and all under the guise of a homophobic, pseudo-religious media organization called Jane O’Brien media.
This scripted film depicts the rise and fall of Tonya Harding through documentary-style “interviews” with her family and friends. Tonya’s life is marred by “the incident” where her main competitor is disabled by a pair of amateur hitmen. The film captures the iconic scene nicely as well— whereas crimes are usually depicted smoothly in film, we are treated to the sloppy reality of the incident and the sheer stupidity of those responsible.
This documentary forces the viewer to contemplate criminal responsibility and the inadequacies of our current system in dealing with victims of abuse. It also make one contemplate the power of modern medicine as an institution, as hundreds of healthcare professionals must have encountered Gypsy without becoming suspicious.
Revelations made in this film implicate all levels of the Russian state bureaucracy, nearly every Russian athlete, and the International Olympic Committee which turned a blind eye for years. The film makes us question the fairness of modern athletics and whether steroid-free sports are still possible.