Mister Organ (2022)

Mister Organ (2022)

A filmmaker chases — and then struggles to escape — a shady figure in this fascinating and disturbing documentary

The Very Best

8.1

Movie

New-Zealand
English
Documentary
2022
DAVID FARRIER
David Farrier, Michael Organ
96 min

TLDR

A film so paranoia-inducing that I was actually a little scared to review it.

What it's about

When journalist David Farrier writes a local interest story about an overzealous car clamper operating in his Auckland neighborhood, he accidentally unleashes a years-long curse onto himself.

The take

This documentary from journalist David Farrier, New Zealand’s answer to Louis Theroux, plays more like an out-and-out horror movie. But don’t be fooled by the serial killer connotations of its title — the real Mister Organ’s crimes are (mostly) psychological and have no obvious motive, making him quite a bit scarier than your usual screen villain. Described as a “parasite,” “terrorist,” and a “black hole” by the few traumatized victims of his who agree to talk on record about him, Organ is clearly a master at weaving a sticky web around everyone who comes near him — including, as it turns out, Farrier himself, who soon becomes a casualty of his own investigation.   Though the doc never really punctures the nebulous aura of this deeply creepy — and yet somehow deeply dull — character, that’s what makes it such an arresting watch: Farrier takes us along for the ride as he’s sucked into the disorienting orbit of an energy vampire, largely denying us the relief of a clarifying explanation so that we, too, get a taste of the claustrophobia and psychological torture that come with dealing firsthand with someone like Organ.

What stands out

For much of the film, Farrier is unable to extricate himself from his subject’s clutches. If you’ve ever seen the journalist-filmmaker’s debut doc Tickled — which similarly follows a wacky story down an unexpectedly dark rabbit hole — you’ll know that he’s no stranger to being targeted by his own subjects, but here, the usually resilient Farrier chronicles the surprisingly emotional effect that making Mister Organ had on him. Even if it winds up feeling like Organ is precisely the last person you should make this kind of documentary about — it’s a bit of a ‘feeding the monster’ situation — Farrier inadvertently gives us a handy PSA of sorts: if you ever meet someone who reminds you of Organ, run.

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