Catfish, some critics have hailed it as “the best Hitchcock movie Hitchcock never directed.” Allow me to dispel some rumors: this is not the best Hitchcock movie he never directed, in fact, Catfish is pretty boring. The Catfish movie manages to disappoint, confuse, and (at least for me) irritate viewers.
The movie begins with Nev Schulman being interviewed by his brother Ariel. The audience learns that through his work as a photographer he has begun a friendship with an eight-year-old painter and Ariel is turning this experience into a documentary.
Without divulging much more of the plot, I think that it is worthwhile to mention that the movie does not get much more exciting than that. The trailers thrown up on the internet make Catfish appear to be an exhilarating thriller that will have audiences on the edge of their seats, but sadly the scenes cut from the trailer provide a drastically warped view of the film. There are no murders, no car-chases, not a single moment where anybody in the audience will jump.
And the acting is sub-par. In true documentary style, the actors in Catfish feel awkward and conversations to the camera are forced at best. In addition, the editing is sloppy and cobbled together in a way that makes the film feel like it was shot by someone fresh out of college with a film degree, oh wait, Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost are fresh out of college… regardless that is hardly an excuse for shoddy camera and editing work.
And finally, the Catfish movie shoves in the product placement that’s three years out of date. From the original iPhone and the old MacBook Pros, to Facebook itself, Catfish wallows in product placement.
The only redeeming quality of the Catfish movie is that it has a mostly unique story. Unique in the sense that it is a retelling of a fairly common theme of hoaxes, fake identities, and manipulation. Oops, I hope that this revelation didn’t ruin the movie for you; at least I didn’t say who is manipulating whom.
And for the icing on the cake, you have to watch the entire Catfish movie to understand why the thing is called “Catfish” to begin with.