knew that this was a documentary style film (didn’t know if it was real or not) and that it had something to do with facebook. i thought it might be a horror film (like so many of these faux-documentaries [fauxumentaries?] are these days). unfortunately so many of these seem to revolve around the question: is it real? people asked it about blair witch, i’m still here, paranormal activity, etc. this one convinced me of its reality more than any of the others i’ve seen, though i don’t believe it to be real. it’s also not about a famous guy and it doesn’t turn into a horror film so it’s pretty unique for this budding genre. spoilers ahead.
the story is about a photographer who has a young girl (abby) as a fan who paints one of his photos and sends it to him. a friendship develops and branches out to the rest of her family, including her mother (angela). soon the photographer finds himself enamored with the young girl’s older sister (megan), despite the fact that he’s only interacted with her on facebook and on the phone. the rest of the story is him discovering that everything that happens in the first part of the film is the result of a hoax perpetrated by the girl’s mother. i really didn’t see the point of the whole journey. intellectually it’s an interesting film because, like “i’m still here” or even the scream films and inception (if you want to take it that far) it has layers of reality and awareness and illusion that get you thinking. it’s a film that portrays itself as a documentary (one layer of falsehood), within that story there is a story about a beautiful family and a young girl who paints nice pictures, it turns out that this is all an elaborate falsehood hatched by a lonely middle aged woman (second layer of falsehood). after the protagonist confronts her she opens up and tells the truth, it’s later revealed that only parts of her confession are real (another layer of falsehood). it also reminds me of a film that made my top ten in 2006, which i saw at the sxsw film festival – s&man. it’s also a fauxumentary that goes in an interesting direction. pretty unknown and i don’t think available on dvd, but worth checking out.
the title comes from an anecdote angela’s husband tells at the very end of the film. apparently cod being shipped from north america to china would arrive mushy because the cod didn’t move enough while in transit. someone came up with the idea of shipping the cod with catfish in the holding tank in an attempt to keep the cod sharp and exercised during transit. so, does this film seek to have us question reality, question internet relationships, question documentaries…?
it was a nice film to watch, in part because i thought that it might get really fucked up and freaky should it turn off the road and have the body count start escalating. unfortunately it never did that. part of the fun in watching the film was the anticipation that it might go that way. were i to watch it again, knowing what i know about the mystery of the film, etc. i don’t think i’d have nearly as good a time. so, should someone watch it? well, if you’ve gotten this far then i’ve ruined the mystery of the film for you, so probably not. if someone asked me to say yay or nay my recommendation would depend upon the person. going through my head of everyone i know there’s really only one person i can think of who i know might like it (my dad). everyone else would probably not see the point, and i can’t say i necessarily disagree. that said, i’m glad i watched it. so you figure it out.Watched in theater