Catfish is a 'documentary' about Yaniv 'Nev' Schulman, a young, budding New-York photographer. Three months after one of Yaniv's photos is published in the New York Sun he receives a package from Michigan-based, 8-year old, child-prodigy Abby Pierce containing a painting of his photo. Taken aback by the quality of the work and generosity of the artist, he befriends Abby via Facebook in a completely innocent and benign way as they exchange photos and canvas.
Always on the lookout for interesting subject material, Yaniv's brother Ariel decides to document their electronic relationship as it progresses as Yaniv talks to Abby's mom Angela, her half-sister Megan and a few other friends in her life. Yaniv falls for Megan hard after an extended online relationship and is desperate to finally meet her. Alarm bells begin to ring after Megan becomes evasive and certain things she has told him do not tie-up. Yaniv decides to confront Megan by showing up at her house unannounced with extremely interesting results...
Putting the controversy aside about whether Catfish is real or staged, it's an amazing story nonetheless which I won't ruin for you by disclosing the plot. I was captivated for the full 86 minutes as the tale is told through shots of Yaniv's Googlemaps, Facebook messages, text back-and-forths and phone calls. It's edgy and well filmed, despite the majority being shot on handy-cams and I honestly felt involved enough with the story to understand what was going through Yaniv's head as his brother and friend ask him for his POV on what's going down.
There is an unfathomable amount of Apple product placement but this could be due to the artistic nature of the guys to begin with (Apple has always pitched itself as the creative 'right-brainers' computer) and some of the "penny-drops" are just so scene-perfect that even the guys themselves acknowledge they got lucky. But what makes this documentary just so enjoyable is that despite being duped, Yaniv and co. never once become malicious or vengeful, giving the benefit of the doubt up until there just is no other option left and even then they aren't angry, more inquisitive as to what would motivate someone to do this.
Whilst you will probably enjoy all the nuances of the online snapshots and internet usage if it's something you know and love yourself, you can follow what's going on even if you're not a fan of Facebook. What's most important is that this is a fascinating story in it's own right even without being labelled as a "Facebook-saga" and resultantly being tarred with the pop-culture brush. Great cinematography through and through, I recommend this intelligent & allegorical docu-drama to everyone!!