Catfish * * * 1/2
Directors: Rel Schulman, Henry Joost.
Featuring: Nev Schulman, Angela Wesselman, Melody C. Roscher, Rel Schulman.
The social networking zeitgeist is certainly upon us. It has shaped a generation in their reliance on smartphones and the internet and contributed to a new global means of communication. It has brought us closer but sometimes a bit too close. It has opened up new dangers and has shaped us into voyeurs. This documentary is proof enough in showing this. It also shows how easily people can be manipulated.
Filmmakers Rel Schulman and Henry Joost find themselves in the midst of a film project, tracing an online romance between Rel’s brother Nev and a female artist on Facebook. Everything doesn’t add up though as the women’s real identity becomes in question and her stories don’t seem to make sense. Is she really who she says she is?…
After a slow beginning, we are soon informed of where this documented drama is heading and the path it takes becomes dark and intriguing. Prime candidate for mockery, Nev Schulman, is a good sport. He very rarely shy’s away from what is ultimately a major piss take of his trust in people. But what it also does, is remind ourselves (or those who use social networking sites) that everything is not as it seems when interacting with faceless names. For those who haven’t seen it, I won’t give too much away, but it shows the frailties in Internet use, as well as, the frailties in ourselves. The revelation of the strange events is quite awakening but is everything we told even true in itself? Some people took this documentary quite literally. I, however, had to wonder whether it was a double cross. I believed it to a point but there were so many chance happenings that were caught conveniently on camera that it couldn’t all have been purely documented.
Questions remain as too how authentic the film actually is but as a social commentary it’s message still stands. Despite some inconstancies it remains cleverly constructed.