9. America’s Most Dangerous Pets
As far as documentary subjects go, there’s no doubt that Theroux has explored some of societies’ darkest issues and used them as the focus for immensely compelling documentaries.
However, for his 2011 documentary America’s Most Dangerous Pets, the surreal sight of Theroux face-to-face with a fully-grown white tiger made for a lighter, but still brilliant, kind of compelling viewing.
Throughout his investigation into the controversial practise of exotic pet ownership, Theroux met a variety of unusual characters whose pets ranged in size from miniature monkeys to hulking brown bears.
Watching the owner's close-up interactions with what are effectively some of nature's most fearsome predators was particularly surreal, but provided a deeply introspective look into their characters and their apparent total disregard for safety.
One particularly unique interviewee was Oklahoma's Joe Exotic, whose commitment to his 150+ tigers bizarrely led him to declare that he would rather euthanize them all than give them up.
As with many of Theroux's documentaries, there were also plenty of uncomfortable moments - particularly when he attempted to delve deeper into the complex ethical issue of caging such majestic wild animals.
Although the documentary was a change in pace for Theroux, his characteristic empathy still shone through and helped create a slightly tragic portrait of both the animals and their owners alike.