catfish

Screened at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, Catfish is one of the intriguing movies I have seen in recent times. The movie is about a young man and his brother and friend filming every single experience of his that started with an online romance on Facebook. Catfish is supposed to be a documentary about the consequences of Facebook in the world of romance, deception, intimacy et all. What is questionable here though is the authenticity of this supposed-true story. Nevertheless, it an interesting look at the world we live in today.

The movie starts with our male protagonist Nev being approached by this artist from Michigan, Abby seeking permission to use one of his photographs as the inspiration for a painting. Through the course of the conversation, Abby is disclosed to be a child prodigy of 8 years. Nev communicates with her mother and as you would have predicted, they get talking. Enter the 19 year old sister. She is our central character. Nev and Abby’s sister start what seems like a facebook romance. The girl, Megan is apparently in love with Nev and they start texting and calling each other. At the same time, Nev’s film-maker brother and friend convince him into recording all of this as a documentary.

Megan and Nev are very much going strong with Megan discussing minute details of her life that includes sharing the songs she has sung and discussing about the horse farm she intends to buy. As the story would have had it, Nev and the other guys decide to pay a visit to Abby and Megan in Michigan. This is when things take a turn for the worse, or should I say, scary. At one point of time, Nev’s brother and friend try and convince him to return home and just let the story be where it is. Nev, on the other hand, is neck-deep into the romance, and the excitement and drama it involves. He decides to go and meet them afterall.

Owing to the impromptu appearance at Abby’s place, the three guys meet Angela who is warm and welcoming but Megan doesn’t get in touch with Nev at all. Over a period of time, they find out that Abby never paints and neither do they get to meet her sister. Things start getting a little confusing and scary for the trio from New York. Angela shows pictures of her daughter, Megan and reveals that she is in rehab to get rid of her alcohol problem and also that she is undergoing chemotherapy. Somehow, all of it doesn’t fit together for Nev. Over the next few scenes, Nev is determined to unravel the mystery surrounding Megan. Turns out its been Angela all this while who has been chatting and talking with Nev pretending to be Megan. Her only excuse is that Nev managed to get her back to her dancing and painting which she had lost touch with, after her marriage. Nev also gets to meet her husband.
The husband draws the parallelism of Nev’s experience with Angela as that of catfish with cods. When being shipped, cods usually turned into flesh due to lack of inactivity. However, adding a few catfish ensured that the cods remained active at all times and thereby, alive. Angela is the person who needed Nev as the catfish in her life to keep herself on her toes.

The movie closes with information that Angela never had cancer, still paints and has shut down all the fake facebook accounts. Whoa! Quite a bit, aint it? Angela is the sole person who carries the movie on her shoulders. She is delusional, desperate, sincere and all of this together does portray her to be a little cuckoo in the head. She, through her many ways, does manage to add to the scary moments in the movie. Catfish doesn’t seem fake to me; on the contrary, it seems quite plausible an occurrence. The tension that seems taut in the air keeps the audience sitting on the edge of their seats and that’s where Catfish succeeds, superbly.

Advertisements