Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Catfish in Zero Words or More

Because this is a film that apparently LIVES or DIES by the amount you know going in - so say the marketers, and far be it from me to mess with marketers - I am going to say what I have to say about this movie in the comments of this post. Spoilers ho. Don't click in if you wanna go into the film knowing nothing, which is how I went into the movie - when confronted with the film's trailer this past weekend, before seeing it, I actually shut my eyes and threw my hands in my ears and hummed, so devoted was I to these same marketers and their demands of my brain. Yes, I am a fool.

Anyway, ya warned.


Jason Adams said...

So like I said, SPOILERS AHOY.

I’m not sure if they’re doing the film a disservice by marketing it as a horror film, or not. See, I went into it with the vaguest of notions that horror would be wrought. And I think that vague notion actually did help my viewing of the film – my expectations, while vague, heightened the tension in several key passages. But at the same time this does not end up being a horror film at all, not really. So if they sell it as a horror movie they’re gonna have a lot of people leaving the theater pissed off or disappointed… or something.

But that’s really got nothing to do with the film. Marketing’s become such a massive part of our reactions to films, especially these little low-budget ones that need to distinguish themselves from the herd, that it’s hard not to write about it. Someone not as compelled, nay thrilled, to follow the odd whims of odd storytelling as I am, someone looking for something a little more straightforward, they’re not gonna be getting what they’re expecting here. Is it my duty to let people know what to expect? I enjoyed the curveballs the story throws at us as it plods along, and so knowing nothing beforehand was a good strategy for me, but I have to admit that my horror-loving heart did feel a twinge of sadness that those expectations are ultimately left unmet. So how will less forgiving folks react?

Although if you wanna get meta this entire film is about expectations going unmet, about someone presenting themselves as what they are not, so perhaps it’s all on purpose. Meta, whee!

But the film itself lives and dies not by its ad campaign but by the images up there on the screen, and I found Catfish, whether real or fake – and everything comes together so curiously, with so much bizarre what-next fascination, that it’s tough to distinguish in the end whether this is fact or fiction, if it’s one of those cases of fact being stranger than fiction, or if it’s all just a giant poke in the eye - totally compelling. It takes you on a crazy journey, from laughing hysterically with these guys to becoming completely terrified at what’s gonna pop its head out from behind the glass, and ultimately to a very sad, very real place that becomes more and more real, it seems, the further we descend as a culture into a fugue state of online personalities. The reality, the real reality, cut deeper than I was anticipating. This is a very sad movie, and alongside The Social Network – or at least The Social Network’s trailer – I think we might be the Fall (that is Autumn) of Cinematic Facebook Dissociative Disorder.

(PS Nev’s a furry lil’ ball of adorable, isn’t he?)

RJ said...

I am so not reading your comment, and I feel like I'm going to explode if I don't see this soon.

RJ said...

Update: Just saw the movie, and I totally agree. I don't know quite what I was expecting, but the really sad turn it made at the end caught me off guard.

And Nev is like my perfect 10. I'm suspicious of the fact that I liked this movie since I found him so attractive the whole time.