Sunday, September 26, 2010


       Catfish debuted at Sundance 2010 and immediately after that the buzz began. After having seen the trailer months ago, I was easily hooked and the film quickly became my most anticipated film of the year. There was such an intrigue displayed in the trailer that few trailers have matched. But let me get this out of the way right off the bat, the trailer is misleading. But fortunately, that's a very good thing.

       Catfish is an intriguing story about a man named Nev Schulman. His older brother, Ariel and friend Henry see an interesting story unfolding and decide to document his journey. He befriends a little girl named Abby who's from Michigan. One day she sends him a painting of a picture he had took and that kick starts the film. That leads into Nev developing an online relationship with Abby and her various family members including her Mom, her brother and her beautiful older sister, Megan. He starts to talk to over the phone to Megan and clearly begins to fall in love with the girl he met on Facebook. Thirty minutes into the film, Nev and his friends start putting stuff together and begin to get the sense that everything isn't what it seems to be and that's what drives the rest of the film.
Nev is one hairy, hairy man.
         That brings them to go to Michigan for a surprise visit to see what the truth really is. The way the film builds the mystery and suspense during all this is pretty remarkable. When they arrive to Michigan they get validation for what they expected and I'll keep the reveal at that, because the truth is a big part of the intrigue of Catfish. The film could be typical at this point and just had dived into a horror aspect which was expected but instead they take a departure from that. Nev is the main character and his nature is what controls the movie. He's a very easygoing guy who just goes with the flow and the way he comes at the situation is with bravery and curiousness. He just wants to understand what's going on and he doesn't bring any hostility with him. He's honestly interested since he's invested in these people's lives and just wants to comprehend why and how something like this could happen.

       I find it really difficult to describe this film without getting into any kind of specifics which I refuse to do. The film is about the Internet, essentially and what dangers it has brought us. It's a social commentary about sites like Facebook and Myspace and how you never really know who you're talking to, unless you actually meet that person in the flesh. My girlfriend told me something the other day that I felt had relevance to this film. She said to me, "Imagine how different a person you would be without the Internet." I would be different, very different and sad to say but truthfully told, I would probably be better without it. Not to say the Internet is all bad, it just has brought so many aspects to life that were unneeded and if someone can't discipline themselves to control the power they have at their fingertips, then the world could be a much more dangerous place because of that. Catfish takes some bold choices in covering this subject matter. Those choices could have been typical but they weren't and that yielded powerful, emotional results. See Catfish, take it for what it is and for what's it trying to tell you.

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