Two facebook-inspired films came out in 2010 and, despite their initial U.S. releases being a good nine months apart, one of the two still lives in the shadow of the other: The Social Network was an undeniable triumph as is shown by the fact the film has grossed almost 225 million dollars world-wide in spite of the project-crippling factor that Mark Zuckerberg refused involvement in his own biopic. Pretty impressive work from Columbia on that one.
However, the point of this article is not to sing the praises of Eiesenberg, Fincher or Justin Timberlake; it is to draw attention to the often-overlooked other facebook movie – Catfish. The fact that, as a film student and a supposed reviewer, I only saw this film yesterday (UK release: December 2010) is nothing short of criminal. I can’t be the only one for whom Catfish, the directorial début for Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost, slid sneakily under the radar like an elusive fish of some kind.
Like an over-eager cinema-goer trying to regale the plot of Saw to an unaware friend I must now tread the fine line of spoilers with extreme caution. Essentially Catfish is a movie about online friendship. The tagline of ‘think before you click’ beside an image of a mouse hovering over the ‘confirm’ option of a facebook friend request tells you all you need to know about the film’s view on absent-minded internet trust. The plot of Catfish unravels into a tale of confusion and gullibility expressed through the grassroots documentary film-making tropes of pieces to camera and passive unobtrusive framing.
Be prepared for an absolutely perfect thriller for the modern age; deception, twists and proper hide-behind-pillow moments await anyone brave enough to watch this movie. Plus, try not to forget, this is a documentary. Or at least it claims to be. This shocked reviewer urges you too to get your hands on a DVD copy as soon as possible, cancel your plans for the evening and catch the heck up on the oft overlooked, undeniably more thought provoking facebook movie.
Good – The ‘what happens next?’ unpredictability and the fact that it’s all probably true
Bad – The title?
Rating – 9/10