Catfish (2010) – Review

In 2007 filmmakers Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost began to follow Ariel’s brother, Yaniv Schulman, and his relationship with a mysterious family over Facebook and later the telephone. Their ambitious project leads the three into unsettling months of enthrallment as the family in which Yaniv is engaging with has a secret they wish not to be discovered.

It is when the friends grow suspicious of the family’s legitimacy, that they begin an investigation in which has them traveling together so many miles across the country with but the single intention of confronting them face to face.







Catfish is not entirely a difficult film to enjoy if the focus is viewed in the perspective of a documentary. Albeit, Catfish does at times feel as if it is more pseudo-documentary than the real thing, it does raise a solitary, open ended question after the fact: “Was it real?” The family may or may not be what is expected from the viewer, but nevertheless, the sociological payoff is apparent—however misleading it is. And again, that really depends on the viewer’s conception of what awaits the friends in Michigan. One will either find disappointment or enthrallment here. Whichever is the case, there is no denying the fascination of it all.

Yaniv, Ariel, and Henry have excellent chemistry together creating moments of sheer hilarity in the film’s narrative. This chemistry as well, does add moments of suspense in exchanges of dialogue and surrounding. Their friendship happens to add a layer of believability to what is unfolding on screen and, as unorthodox at times it may appear to be, Catfish never does quite get away from their bonding. All the while simultaneously maintaining suspense, building toward the film’s climax.

Whether the events themselves are real is subjective, but in the end, what ultimately matters is that Catfish is a compelling, even suspenseful, study on the psyche of online, even personal, relationships.



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