Mister Organ: Boston Underground Film Festival
Dir. David Farrier (2022)
A journalist finds himself in a not-so-friendly relationship with a mysterious conman.
CAUTION: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
Documentary filmmaker/journalist David Farrier already has an impressive body of work with his previous feature documentary Tickled and his television show Dark Tourist. If you haven’t watched either of these, I highly recommend that you at least check out Tickled, which is one of the darker and more bizarre docs that I’ve ever had the opportunity to watch. While Mister Organ, his latest followup film, may not be quite as disturbing or insane as his previous film, it is still chockfull of “what the fuck” moments and some of the strangest characters you’re likely to come across.
Mister Organ is about a strange man who has been booting cars at a local antique store, preventing the cars from leaving when they’re parked outside the store and charging exorbitant amounts of money to remove the boot. Farrier began reporting on the problem for the local news organizations, monitoring the situation for the public and causing enough of a stink that eventually the local council begins passing laws to help alleviate the problem. Unfortunately, this puts him directly into the crosshairs of Michael Organ, the man who is the subject of the documentary and who leads an incredibly bizarre life filled with blackmail, harassment, and mistaken identity. As Organ begins to focus his increasingly-unsettling attention on Farrier, the journalist must decide whether it is the story or his safety that is more important.
I gotta be honest, after watching Farrier’s work in this film and in his previous film Tickled, I don’t think I have what it takes to be a journalist. In fact, the second my writing started to bring me the type of attention he has received, and the threats and danger that has come with it, I’m noping right the fuck out. I have absolutely no desire to find my life in danger because I like commenting on things, and I guess that’s your ticket to have me not talk bad about your film. If you think I’ve given you a bad review, just send me some death threats and I’ll remove my comments posthaste, because I’m not down with that at all. I’d like to posture myself as someone who likes to stand up to bullies, and I absolutely do, but not at the risk of my own personal safety. Does that make me chickenshit? Perhaps, but I’ll be an alive chicken, and that’s all that matters. Farrier, thankfully, has no such self-preservatory instincts, and his journalist and documentarian careers are all the better for it, because even though Mister Organ does not have any of the mortal danger that was present in some of his other works, there’s just something that’s off about the whole process, making you feel that perhaps things are more dangerous than they might seem on the surface.
Michael Organ is a bizarre man, and it quickly becomes clear that everything others are saying about him is likely true. Farrier does an excellent job of somehow making this interesting, despite most of the film focusing on the ramblings of a madman and the diatribes of a habitual liar. Michael is not particularly interesting, and it speaks to Farrier’s talents as a filmmaker that he manages to put the story together in a fascinating way. While it’s difficult to say that I wish ill on anyone, Farrier does his best work when its his own life that’s at stake, and as an observing interloper, I find his perspectives valuable and entertaining. He’s a damn good filmmaker, and I’m excited to see what he decides to focus on next.
Who this movie is for: Documentary lovers, Fans of strange people, People who aren’t good at parking
Bottom line: How in the world he managed to make Organ interesting I’ll never know, but he does it, and Mister Organ is a fascinating tale that is well worth a watch for documentary fans. Farrier is one of the better documentary filmmakers working today, and Mister Organ shows how capable he is even when focusing on a subject that doesn’t seem like it should be as interesting as it is. The film is showing at the Boston Underground Film Festival, and if you missed it this time around, I definitely recommend checking it out if you’re in the area. I was fortunate enough to catch a streaming showing of their films, and they’ve got impeccable taste in the films that they feature