Reviewer: James Van Maanen
Rating (out of 5): ****½
I'm going to go even farther than my usual don't-spoil-the-movie commandment by saying damn little about the "plot" of Catfish, the one-of-a-kind documentary from first-time/full-length moviemakers Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost and starring Shulman's immensely photogenic and charismatic photographer brother Yaniv (also known as Nev).
I knew nothing about this movie when I attended a press preview, along with a full-house audience, a few weeks prior to the theatrical debut of the film. I suspected it might be a documentary, though I also wondered whether it might not be faux or mock. After a few minutes of watching, it certainly seemed real enough. And yet, in our prankish internet age, including this year's I'm Still Here, who knows? So I was prepared to go with it either way -- doc or narrative. But so quickly did I get wrapped up in this tale of a filmmaker and his friend who begin to follow the love life of the filmmaker's brother as it blossoms and evolves over the Internet that I soon did not care a whit whether the movie was real or fake. Either way, it was excellent -- and in my book that's what matters.