Saturday, January 31, 2015

CATFISH (2010)

Directed By: Henry Joost & Ariel Schulman 
Cinematography By: Henry Joost & Ariel Schulman, Yaniv Schulman 
Edited By: Zachary Stuart-Pontier 
Music By: Mark Mothersbough 

Featuring: Yaniv Schulman, Ariel Schulman, Henry Joost, Angela Wesselman, Melody C. Roscher

In late 2007, filmmakers Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost sensed a story unfolding as they began to film the life of Ariel's brother, Nev. They had no idea that their project would lead to the most exhilarating and unsettling months of their lives. A reality thriller that is a shocking product of our times, Catfish is a riveting story of love, deception and grace within a labyrinth of online intrigue.

This film was spoiled for me by 20/20, which waited all of one month after the film was in theaters before telling the whole story. Then spoiling it completely. Making me wonder if now that I know most of the story was it worth watching? (Though I am sure it helped ticket sales with built in national advertising)

I avoided the film for a while then finally caught it. I can say even if you know the twist it's still worth checking out.

The film started out on the wrong foot as I vividly remember the trailers that mismarketed the film on purpose. That made it look more like a horror film or a thriller. Basically like a PARANORMAL ACTIVITY type film.

The protagonist of This documentary comes off as A smug hipster types trying to seem earnest and good hearted. Trying to form a friendship when it seems his interests are more driven by lust and attraction.

Slowly the film starts showing itself as a mystery that quickly unravels and the later Half of the film seems to be more or less an expose on the people he feels duped by. More on the psychology that drove them to it.

There are many points in the film where you begin to wonder. How much is real? How much is set-up and fabricated? (The latter of which I don't believe the filmmakers intentionally planned on)

Everything Seems very convenient and falls into place perfectly. Like his brother and friend just decided to film his interactions with a family in the Internet and it leads to all of this.

Though the filmmakers keep trying to present all the situations as real. The film constantly feels staged and set up. Just as I can't believe if it was real. The subjects would be as open and free to be exposed and berated on camera no matter if they want attention or not.

It is captivating as you are with them when discovering information and turning up clues. It's entertaining and goes into fraud and deception on these supposedly secure internet social Connection sites. How easy it is to make-up an identity.

As all is slowly revealed. It starts to become depressing yet fascinating. The film strangely manages to keep up an excitement. No matter what is happening.

Now it is a basis for an MTV show that feels just as exploitive and cruel. Also just as set up.

The film is inspiring in trying to show the downside to online meeting, though it also exposes the rise of gimmick documentaries and seeking fame and noteriety through filmmaking rather then having the passion in a subject or to tell a story. Here it feels like this is filmmaking as diary or older coming of age tale.

Grade: B

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