***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!
Catfish - 1 out of 5
Watch the trailer of this film and it sells you on the idea that it is a documentary showcasing a long distance, unique relationship between a photographer and a little girl painter that starts to turn into a mystery. The photographer begins talking to the little girl's older sister through Facebook, phone calls and text messages and they seem to fall in love...however, suspicion takes over and the photographer begins to wonder if this woman really exists--or if anything he's learned about these people was even true.
The trailers sell this movie like it's this dark, twisting depraved tale that will shock and horrify you and to top it off, they have the nerve to sell it as "real." However, within the first few minutes of the film, you quickly learn that this is not a documentary or even a mockumentary. Instead, it comes off as one of those shitty "found footage" films like The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity. The only difference is, that after they lied and said the films were real, the filmmakers of those movies had the respect for the audience to say it was all a marketing gimmick and that they were indeed, fiction. Had the filmmakers of this piece of crap done the same, I might have enjoyed it but the fact they continue to claim it's real after all the evidence to the contrary, it makes it impossible to enjoy this film.
Why is it so obvious that this film was fake, you ask? First off, the man who is the photographer overacts. At no point does he react like a real person and it seems he thinks that he's Tom Cruise because he does all his acting with different variants of smiling. Finally, to top it off, he's got a tramp stamp--WHAT GUY HAS A TRAMP STAMP?!? There's also tons and tons of smaller clues placed throughout the film that scream, "THIS MOVIE IS FAKE!!!" but they're too numerous to get into now. However, the biggest glaring example of the lack of authenticity to this film is the fact that the cameramen are always around to conveniently capture all the key "plot points" of the film. And I won't even get into the idea that the cameramen are actively getting involved in the goings on with the photographer (a major no-no for documentary filmmaking). I also won't talk about why the photographer didn't do some research online about the child painter or her older sister until 8 months into their relationship. Also, the cameramen seemed to have started filming this story long before it would have ever been interesting--so the question has to be asked, "What motivated them to film the evolution between a child painter and a photographer?" The relationship started very innocent. The little girl painted a picture that was published and sent it to him and they eventually started a correspondence where he took pictures for her to paint. Why would this be interesting enough to make a documentary about? Did they have psychic powers and they learned he would eventually start to evoke romantic feelings for the child's older sister?
A part of me understands why they would claim that it's real despite the fact it's obviously fake. The film makes the commentary about how the internet has allowed us to lead virtual lives and that it can sometimes cause drama and trouble in the real world. So, by creating a fake documentary and passing it off as real speaks volumes about the point they're making. However, the commentary becomes a double-edge sword. Had the filmmakers been honest and sold the movie as fiction, I could have enjoyed it because it was well made (Morgan Spurlock actually had the guts to go up to the producers of this film and say they created the "best fake documentary" he's ever seen. Now that's bad-ass!). However, the fact that they still claim that it was 100% real disgusted me and quickly took me out of the film because it just showcased the arrogance of the filmmakers and classic sense of narcissism that they think that they somehow pulled the wool over the audiences' eyes and thought they were too stupid to realize. This act is just as insulting as when American Teen came out and the filmmakers claimed that one was real.