Friday, 6 May 2011

Internet Fish - Part Of Documentary Day... Or Is It?

Advertised cunningly as, "Forget The Social Network - This is the Real Facebook Film." Sneaky considering both movies tell incredibly different stories that involve Facebook. However, this is a documentary. Or is it? This is Catfish.

The trailer suggested something Blair-Witch-ish. Admittedly, the marketing campaign for this movie was extremely misleading. The movie is about a photographer Nev (pronounced Neev - Get it right Channel 4) and his relationship with a family in Michigan. Trouble is, he lives in New York. This means Nev's only forms of communication are online and through the telephone. His brother, Ariel, and friend, Henry, decide to document Nev's friendship with the youngest daughter, Abby, who is a child prodigy in art. However, as Nev starts getting friendly with the rest of the family, he becomes rather attracted to Abby's half sister, Megan. As the friendship develops and infatuation begins, the trio discover a few of Megan's deepest secrets.

Hidden cameras provide fairly useful in the final third of the movie.

Having never reviewed a documentary, I'm not sure where to start. I guess with the movie as a whole. I'll try to keep it spoiler free. It's great. It's suspenseful, fun and super unnerving. Nev is a great person to follow. He's normal, friendly and most importantly, he's easy to relate to. What's great about this self classed 'Reality Thriller' is the reality of the emotions. What is on screen is real and the audience are drawn in. But wait, is it real? The authenticity of the film has been question by many viewers including celebrities such as Zach Galifianakis. The film makers stand by their statement that it's 100% true. Ariel said that it all felt too perfect to them too. However, both himself and Henry are use to filming plenty of everyday life and it finally paid off. Supposedly. The mystery surrounding how real the film is only adds to it intrigue. Whether or not it's a hoax, it still raises real issues that are out there relating to social networking sites like Facebook.

Photoshop - As crucial to distance lovers as attention seeking teenage girls.

It's not impossible to guess what happens in the film without even seeing it. That's not important. Even if you know how it's going to end, which as the film develops you're likely to do, it's still the extent of the conclusion that makes the reality of the situation so shocking. Once the trio reach Michigan to meet the family, we are left squirming at particular moments. There are bits that are hard to watch and there are bits that border on disturbing. That reality may be too much for a movie that starts off fairly light. If you're a fan of something a bit more real and are welcome to see a darker side of the internet, this movie isfor you.

Despite the questions regarding it's authenticity, it's a gripping documentary. You grow to like the characters, you react when they react, and you feel just as uncomfortable as Ariel when he states, 'I just want to leave.' it encompasses a whole range of emotions as well as nailing the Facebook Zeitgeist right on the head. Enjoyable as well as unsettling.

Best Bit? It's tricky. Two moments stand out for me. The song discovery scene and the Painting of Nev scene near the end. Note: I have given these scenes these names. You'll understand if you watch the movie.

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