|Teen Movie Critic - V is a Dream Machine Site|
The Dream Machine --- The Imagination of the World Wide Web
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Filmmakers Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost document a story involving Ariel's brother, Nev, 24-year-old photographer, and Abby, an 8-year-old artist from rural Michigan who contacts Nev via Facebook, asking permission to make a painting from one of his photographs. This is just a short synopsis, but it grows into a much bigger situation involving Abby's older sister and the online relationship between Nev and Abby's sister. Nev decides to drop in for a surprise visit. While this is a documentary, it luckily isn't too shaky of an image. The hype regarding the big shocking of an ending is what pulled many viewers in. I found the ending to be rather predictable and isn't much of a shocker. I won't give away the twist for those of you who haven't seen the film and are interested in it. The build up is the best thing Catfish has going for it. I predicted the ending early on, but was hoping that I was wrong. Unfortunately, I was spot on.
Whether or not the story is 100% accurate, the film certainly feels real. A lot of this is due to the skillful cast presented on screen. There isn't a single role in this film that doesn't feel natural. While some of the actions made by the characters are ridiculous, the reactions and dialogue are as innate as they come. Through the build up, the audience gets to become familiar with Nev. Even though his decisions aren't favorable, his performance definitely aids the film.
As stated before, the film is shot to be documenting the events unfolding. Luckily, the camera is held fairly steady and isn't too shaky. The filmmakers do a good job with creating an atmosphere for the audience. It feels as if the viewers are alongside Nev in his journey to Michigan to meet Abby and her older sister. The editing is smooth and looks very similar to some of the higher budget documentaries. However, the budget remains small and it's rather apparent. I couldn't help but feel tense as Nev walks around the family farm with nothing but the light on the camera.
When the movie was originally being released, quite a few moviegoers raved about the film. I cannot say I'm a fan of the movie, but I'm glad I checked it out. I understand the frustration many people had when they were expecting to see a suspenseful thriller and got a traditional documentary. The buildup is enjoyable, but the outcome of the 'twist' is less than satisfying. Catfish is a decent rental, but don't go too far out of your way to see this one.