Star rating – 5/10
Catfish is following a couple of trends in movie making right now, firstly, the transfer of the Facebook generation to celluloid, as seen recently in the wonderful The Social Network; and secondly, the documentary/mockumentary – is it real or is it fake - film school such as Joaquin Phoenix’s latest hoax that had everyone talking for about two minutes.
This time it is the exploits of a 24 year old New York photographer, Nev Schulman that are the subject matter here. He has a photo published in a newspaper and three months later gets a painting of it back through the mail from an unknown 8 year old girl living in Michigan called Abby. They strike up a Facebook friendship, which leads in turn to a friendship with her mother Angela, and also to a quite intense on line romantic attachment with her beautiful older sister Megan.
Nev’s brother, Rel Schulman, and friend Henry Joost are film makers, and they think that this has the makings of a great movie, so Nev agrees to let them film him 24/7 as the story unfolds. But everything it not as it seems. Nev’s doubts are first raised when he realises that both Angela and Megan are passing off songs from the internet by other recording artists as their own to impress him. He has no idea why they would do this, but starts to be more on his guard. And other things start not to add up too.
The three guys have to go to a dance festival across America, and decide to take the relatively short detour on the way back of another plane journey and few hundred miles drive (this is America!) to Michigan to find out what is really going on with Nev’s new on line friends. Far be it from me to spoil anyone else’s fun – so I won’t give the game away about the rest of the film. But I have to say that I was looking for something a little more unpredictable here after the hype the film has received. I am not sure if it is a true story, I suspect not, and frankly I don’t care much either. I don’t think it is all that clever, engaging or entertaining. I was constantly waiting for it to get more interesting, and sadly, for me, it didn’t. Not a patch on The Social Network – which is for my money a much better tale about the Facebook generation if you haven’t seen it yet.