Tuesday, October 5, 2010

What I Think of: Catfish (2010)

(this shot is one of my favorite scenes in the film)

This is a documentary by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman and it follows Ariel's brother, a young (did I mention very attractive) photographer, Nev. I don't want to get too into the plot as I don't want to give away anything. This documentary in a way is like a mystery--you uncover things as you go along but the basis is that Nev was befriended by a child prodigy that saw one of his photos and painted it for him. They become 'friends' online and becomes friends with her extended family. As the relationships blossom, Nev has developed an interest in learning more the friends he has made and this is when the story starts to unfold.

A discussion that I had with Joshua after the film was that he did not like that the camera man, Nev's brother Ariel, and their friend, Henry interacted with Nev. In summary, Joshua's thoughts around documentary is that it should only focus on the subject and the director/cameramen should not be involved with the story. He's coming in from a technical point of view and from someone who actually really likes documentaries. I, on the other hand, do not prefer documentaries but I've definitely have seen some great ones in my time. But I won't claim to be a documentary expert but I will say I did enjoy the interaction between the subject and the film maker. Why? Because there's a relationship there, the brother and friend are part of the journey. They are his only friends and confidants as he goes down this path.

As for the story itself, it's quite an interesting one. The marketing has been clever in not revealing too much and promoting it in a very ominous way. Is this a documentary? Is it a horror film? Is this the real life Crying Game? Will this become a snuff film? Ok the last two were things I were thinking but perhaps others too. I think if you end up going to see Catfish, go in blind but also don't go in expending some mind blowing experience, just enjoy the ride.