“Marty Fish” essay

“Marty Fish” or how obsessive are you?
“Marty Fish” is a short movie, the graduating project of a young, vibrant, exceptionally intercultural crew who put heart, soul, and – above all – skill into putting together a story. A story which in simple, straight-forward manner evolves so subtly yet at the speed of light that by the end of the movie it feels like a whole two-hour feature has been screened; elaborate without details, exhaustive without being exhausting or slow.

Fahda Bandar (Saudi Arbia), Phil Henfrey (UK), Richie McEntee (Irland), Jacques Hinkson-Compton(Saint Lucia), Christoph Schirmer (Germany), and Ryan Bishop (UK) tell the story of Marty Fish, the father of school-aged Tobias. The two of them live by themselves, but it’s a bit of a reversed father-son relationship. Marty quickly reveals a character of a desperate man completely destabilized by his apparently fresh divorce; he is completely anti-social, he is needy, he is obsessive, and above all – he is definitive. Always right. This escalates to the rhetoric question which Marty seems to ask to reassert his status – who is the father in the house. But the question turns so symbolic as little Toby takes care of his mentally instable dad that eventually it constitutes the climax of the plot.

The real issue of the production, however, lies in the source of Marty’s obsession. At short glance, it is a very mundane obsession: Marty suffers from an apparently painful divorce; he is completely fanatic about the nature and mentality of all women. He tries to protect his son from suffering the same verdict, and naturally, Marty’s obsession hits its high the minute he notices that his son is talking to the new girl next door, for the first time. So far so good.

However, this is what triggers the surfacing of the true conflict in the story. It is not about an old, hurt father whose son is having a bit of a difficult childhood for the good cause of helping him around. It is about an old fool trying to teach a child a lesson that takes a grown man a lifetime of marriage to learn; and what’s more important – the lesson talks of women, of friendship, and of love…and it is very, very flawed. And just before you are ready to Marty’s character and say to yourself “Thank G-d I’m not that kind of obsessed, ignorant, miserable old man who suffocates his child with misguided over-protectiveness” you halt for a split of the second: “Just how obsessed am I, then? How many times have I preached, proclaimed, ensured, and acted in an absolute and definitive fashion, depriving a young soul from the charm and magic of simple childish curiosity and discovery? How many times have I stamped the snow-white pure mind of an innocent with gloomy promises and forecasts, disguised under benevolent wish to protect but really revealing my own misery?” Well, check out Marty Fish and try to be honest with your self: just how obsessive are you?

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