VOD film review: Catfish
Ivan Radford | On 29, Jun 2013Reading time: 2 mins
Directors: Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman
Watch Catfish online in the UK: Netflix UK / Amazon Prime / iTunes / TalkTalk TV / Prime Video (Buy/Rent) / Google Play
When people first heard of a Facebook movie all those years ago, this is the kind of thing they imagined instead of David Fincher’s fantastic drama. But even they couldn’t have expected such an unsettling and poignant piece of cinema.
Catfish is a documentary following photographer Nev, who makes friends with Abby, a nine year old girl who likes painting pictures of him. He’s in New York, she’s in Michigan, but they start chatting online instantly. Soon enough, the whole family’s on Facebook, friending each other and tagging their photos. It’s a weird little incestuous social network that fascinates Nev’s film-making friends.
So they start on the ambitious trek across America to meet their virtual penpals; a quick shot of Google Earth here, a jaunt down Street View there, Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman’s film is a fully online experience. But while watching a grown man make friends with a young girl might seem awkward, Catfish is disturbing for a completely different reason.
And the film doesn’t stop there. After some dramatic introductions, Joost and Schulman continue to capture the sad motivations of all of these characters. An insight into what happens when life collides with digital reality, Catfish grabs you and smacks you repeatedly over the face with a keyboard until you feel sorry for all concerned. No wonder it now has a series on MTV. If you’ve only seen the small screen show, this is a must-see.
Catfish is available on Netflix UK, as part of an £8.99 monthly subscription. It is also available to watch online on Amazon Prime Video as part of a Prime membership or a £5.99 monthly subscription.