Despite being mysterious and weird, documentary “Mister Organ” falls short of its payoff. [Fantastic Fest]

If you haven’t heard of documentarian David Farrier, there are two reasons for that. You either don’t enjoy deeply unsettling documentaries that either explore the weirdest parts of the internet or the creepiest parts of the world, or you just simply do not know his name. He is the man behind the unhinged and cringy documentary Tickled about, you guessed it, the subculture and fascination with tickling and the world of competitive tickling. He’s also behind the tv series Dark Tourist, which explores some of the most taboo and mysterious places on Earth. It would be safe to say that Farrier has an instinctual intrigue for the weird and mysterious, and with his newest outing in Mister Organ, the mysterious and weird is full and present, but the payoff seems to fall short of making its mark.

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L-R: Producer/Director David Farrier and Michael Organ in MISTER ORGAN.

The documentary starts off with David investigating reports of a woman, Jillian Bashford, who owns an antique shop and is obsessed with her store front and the parking that resides outside of it. She is adamant that if you are not visiting the store, you’re not allowed to park outside of her store front and that includes off hours parking, as well. As a series of cars starts getting booted, resulting in astronomical charges, David tries to investigate what is happening and why Jillian is doing this. However, he discovers that she supposedly has no idea who the mysterious man booting cars is and David’s world of intrigue and mystery kicks right off.

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Michael Organ in MISTER ORGAN.

What David discovers is that the mystery man behind the booting is named Michael Organ, a career criminal who claims to be descendant of royal ancestry and has royal blood. However, unlike anything David has encountered before, his subject sets his eyes on him as a web of mystery starts to unfold. David starts to realize he may just be in over his head as he’s involved in something more sinister and much darker than he ever bargained for.

Subject matter-wise, David Farrier has a story that is so engrossed in intrigue and mystery that it is certain to captivate the audience and provide some deeply unsettling feelings of fear and anxiety. This is what Mister Organ does well. This is what David does well, there is no question about that. As evident by David’s other work, he certainly proves he knows how to explore uncomfortable people and uncomfortable situations; it is where Mister Organ is its best.  However when the line between subject and documentarian gets crossed, David loses sight of his overall goal and ensures his own safety. This downfall is when Michael Organ focuses his sights on David, who tries his best to stay professional and finish the project. It is clearly a tense subject that makes David uncomfortable (which, granted, it would make anyone uncomfortable), but his ode to professionalism is a detractor from the overall documentary. With David staying true to his duty and investigating as far as he can, as safely as he can, instead of doing some research and filling in some gaps with some journalistic creativity, the documentary loses its steam as it slowly becomes a matter of self preservation rather than a look at Michael Organ and his being.

When the focus becomes set on David, the documentary loses its focus on the mysterious bootings happening outside this antique shop. It  slowly becomes a diary of how David keeps himself safe, in a sense, from Michael himself. Thusly, it changes what it originally has set out to tell the audience. Michael Organ is definitely someone of intrigue, but crossing a line that David certainly wasn’t comfortable with and then David’s divulgence into self preservation over documenting his findings took over.

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L-R: Michael Organ and Producer/Director David Farrier in MISTER ORGAN.

With some of the twists and turns that the documentary took, Mister Organ slowly transgresses from one interesting tale to one more terrifying but ultimately less engaging. David stays true to his professional obligations, leaving the viewer wanting more of the subject matter at hand rather than what the documentary morphs itself into approximately halfway through the project.

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L-R: Producer/Director David Farrier and Michael Organ in MISTER ORGAN.

With David now becoming a new subject for Organ to set his eyes on and attempt to ruin his life and fill him with anxiety, the documentary almost becomes surreal and the objectivity can come into question. At no point does it feel like David is taking any liberties to prove his case, but the reclusiveness and back-peddling he almost has to do to protect himself becomes less intriguing for the audience. The mystery and intrigue behind Michael Organ dissipates into fear and anguish for David, making the audience have a nail-biting experience, but also has them assume the safest answer as the movie is complete and screening. If Michael Organ didn’t flip the script on David, and David was able to dive further into the world of Michael Organ and maybe find some more intrigue and mystery behind the man, Mister Organ would’ve proved to be another monumental knockout. But since his own safety got put at risk and the journey was cut short, the documentary does unfortunately fall a little under the expectations that were proceeding it.

Screening during Fantastic Fest 2022.

For more information, head to the official Mister Organ Fantastic Fest webpage.

Final Score: 3.5 out of 5.

Categories: In Theaters, Reviews

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