DVD review: “Mister Organ” (2022)

“Mister Organ” (2022)


Running Time: 96 minutes

Produced by: David Farrier, Alex Reed and Emma Slade

Directed by: David Farrier

David Farrier: “That does seem quite weird. I mean I’d prefer you didn’t have a key to my house.”

Released recently on DVD is the New Zealand documentary “Mister Organ” (2022) that saw what was a long time dispute about parking, towing and an antique shop in Ponsonby turn into a somewhat chilling character study but ultimately feels like a story that had nowhere to go, finishing rather unfulfilling and looking for an ending. In fact the more one contemplates this documentary the more one feels a little let down by something that could have been quite special. 

The documentary investigates Michael Organ, beginning with an investigation into Bashford Antiques, an antique store in Ponsonby, Auckland which was known for its over-enthusiastic car clamping policy. The documentary follows Organ’s past victims, his response to Farrier’s organisation, and the psychological warfare techniques he uses against Farrier.

“Mister Organ” starts with an intriguing premise as well as establishing that the story is something that piqued national interest so there was always going to be a story behind the story and Farrier does expose it kind of, although after multiple talking heads as well as some fishing with both the protagonist as well as a few of his relations and his partner we as an audience are nowhere near any kind of truth or resolution. In fact this documentary feels a little like the television show ‘Fair Go’ but a lot longer.

As is usual Farrier injects himself within the narrative to give some kind of perceived stake and/or jeopardy that makes us feel like he may have something to lose. This is a technique that has been used by many documentarians especially those that have a personality and connect with their audiences such as Michael Moore, Nick Broomfield, Louis Theroux and a host of others who have also spun their ‘personalities’ into other connected careers, here Farrier is no different. At this stage I feel like his documentary is a long form trailer to his other endeavours. 

I was looking forward to “Mister Organ” quite a lot actually, especially because I really enjoyed with the surprisingly good “Tickled” (2016) that again started in one place and ended with another, it also had a very good conclusion that seemed to bring the entire movie together, something that is sorely missing with this new documentary. My main criticism of “Mister Organ” is that it feels like the start of a good idea, one that seemed to have legs especially with the discovery of the life of the main character, however beyond that there are no real surprises or revelations that are brought to any kind of real conclusion. It looks like it was edited with the intention of finding a story hence the beginning of the documentary that features what will occur at the ending, narratively speaking. 

In fact the entire documentary is put together like a narrative movie to begin with not really a documentary at all especially with the so called jeopardy that Farrier finds himself in a few times throughout it. To be honest the narrative stops ringing true or even interesting after the first act when the ‘true’ character of Organ is revealed, to be honest I am not even sure the threats even seem real. I would question the actual veracity of the documentary to be begin with. To appear in the movie all of the participants need to sign releases so really how ‘real’ can any of it be? 

“Mister Organ” is still worth a viewing but I would leave it for a streaming service, it is a passing good time but the end may leave you feeling a little hollow.


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