Very rarely have I ever left a movie theater and thought “what did I just watch?”
And after a few hours of thinking, the conclusion is this: Catfish is one of the most unique and intriguing cinematic experiences I’ve ever had.
In theory Catfish is a documentary shot by Rel Schulman and Henry Joost chronicling the Facebook-spawned friendship between Schulman’s brother Nev and an 8-year-old artist named Abby and her entire family. The relationship starts innocently, Abby does a painting of one of the photos Nev has shot for a New York paper. Impressed with the her skill Nev begins sending more and more photos to the Michigan-based child prodigy. Within weeks receives the girl’s painting interpretations of his photos. After a few months Nev becomes more and more involved with the girl and eventually her family — both on Facebook and over the phone. Soon, he develops a crush on Abby’s older sister and an online romance ensues.
Then things start getting weird — things are starting to not add up, they aren’t as perfect they did at first. Things become “fishy.” So Nev, Rel and Henry decide to go to Michigan and find out what the deal really is — chronicling their adventure on film.
What ensues is an absolutely white knuckle, heart-pounding, emotionally harrowing cinematic experience that you must become involved in.
And the whole time you’re wondering — is this for real?
The controversy over Catfish is that whether the film is actually a a documentary as it claims to be. Celebrities like documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me) and comedian Zach Galifianakis have cried “foul” — that Catfish is a brilliant conceived hoax. Yet, the filmmakers are adamant that Catfish is 100% real.
Whether it’s real or fake, you will be goose-bump riddled rethinking the entire film. If it is a hoax, then Catfish is one of the most genius hoaxes we’ve experience since Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds — something the film has been increasing compared to. If it’s 100% real, then get ready to experience a crazy emotional and intense piece about social networking and it’s potential dangers.
My final verdict — find a theater that is showing Catfish (Monmouth Mall in Eatontown for Jersey film-goers) and dive into this amazing piece of cinema.