Story: In 2011, filmmaker Louis Theroux traveled to the United States to visit some private zoos, where exotic animals were kept as pets and tourist attractions. One of his subjects was Joe Exotic, who of course would become an international media sensation less than a decade later, when Netflix featured him in the Tiger King docuseries. Theroux would revisit the stories around Exotic in 2021, though he would run into a host of difficulties in the process. Faced with Netflix locking down most of the people involved, Theroux would have to work within limited means to shoot this documentary, which also weaves in some of the footage from his previous visit.

Entertainment Value: I know, another Joe Exotic related review. I can’t help myself, as I cannot resist any of the various television series or documentaries on Exotic and those in his orbit, so I had to see how Louis Theroux approached the chaos. If you want to see Theroux’s earlier piece on Exotic, it is an hour long documentary titled Louis Theroux: Beware of Tiger. Shooting Joe Exotic contains some footage from that original visit, which is good, since with Joe in prison and Netflix’s legal lockdowns, the ways to see the more colorful folks was limited here. The blended nature of the footage isn’t an issue, as this is more of a loose collection of scenes with some solid structure, rather than a narrative driven type presentation, if that makes sense. I found it to kind of be like a collage of interesting scenes, which I didn’t mind, given my interest in the subject matter.

As you can imagine, there isn’t a lot of new information here, which is no surprise, given the level of coverage these stories have been given. So don’t expect wild new revelations or twists, as this is isn’t that kind of piece. The main draw is seeing how Louis Theroux interacts with all of the folks involved, as his demeanor can be an interesting clash with those he interviews here. Theroux has a laid back, casual conversational approach and it works well, he still asks some tough questions, but you can tell he is able to disarm most of the participants. I especially love the scenes with Theroux and Exotic, as the banter is great and even seemingly mundane conversations are fun to watch. When Exotic gets hot headed or confrontational, Theroux never takes the bait, staying cool and pushing Exotic to explain why he is so out of sorts at the moment. Most of the new footage is with Carole Baskin, who again, is always a good subject to be interviewed. I know this has all been hashed over time and again, but for Tiger King fans, this is worth a look.