Review: Fyre

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A great example of how easy it is to trick the internet culture of today, but also how stupid or deceitful those in charge can be.

A Netflix documentary following the disastrous Fyre festival of 2017, a tropical island escape where party-goers could mix it up with supermodels and music stars. Only due to colossal oversights of the managers, it turned into a nightmare no one wanted.

This documentary is shot extremely factually; made entirely from archive footage from across the Fyre festival’s brief existence from multitudes of sources, with those involved explaining their perspective chronologically. A classic documentary style, and it serves itself well: in this day and age, there’s so much footage flying out of people’s phones and recorded for “prosperity” that there really was no need to reproduce anything! The film has wonderful escalation towards its devastating climax; you will be surprised how hooked you will become while watching.

Going into it, and knowing nothing about the festival (I despise this sort of sub-culture), I had my reservations about watching this at all. But as it happens, this was a fascinatingly awful experience to watch unfold, and the documentary had very little work to do to make it convincing.

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In the centre of this story is one man, Billy McFarlane, who we are introduced as being a future millionaire; a man of great ideas and forward thinking, a man who despite his young age had convinced some powerful people he was a bankable asset. As a promotional move to help sales of a new phone app that would allow users to hire top names in the music industry for private functions. The idea was a grand island-based music festival, promoted by the hottest supermodels through social media outlets. Not a bad idea… only early red flags are visible when this idea is conceived during a drunken party Billy and rapper Ja Rule spent on the island for promotional purposes. With a dozen supermodels.

It is fairly obvious from the start that these guys got what they wanted from the start. But what extends from this point is like watching a man building a bridge across a chasm without any understanding of gravity.

We witness the impressive lack of foresight from the public; six thousand people paying thousands of dollars to go to an island festival, with only one promotional video full of supermodels and no music. Promoted by a company with no history of hosting. Plus the utterly horrendous business mindset similar to contestants from The Apprentice. Selling impossible dreams without any financial ceilings or restraints or reality.
The total lack of infrastructure on display was incredible, and while the film laid everything out in detail, it would have been understandable without. Selling luxury beach houses, yacht cruises, promoting music, yet having nothing planned for these. They didn’t even have water! Everything dissolved, like a sand castle in the rain, as it was clearly going to, yet we watch in horror as unwitting (and brainless) festival-goers arrive to what was worse than a refugee camp.

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What was stunning was the reactions that those in charge had towards the naysayers and colleagues who stressed the important factors. Like: “We need a lot of toilets” (because there were none) was met with a childish giggle, as if saying: “You said ‘toilet’, lol.” All the way to the 11th hour, where one man was begging them to cancel most of the attendees because they had no housing for them. Only to be met with a response about how it is okay, they will still see some sweet yoga moves.

Even as a story about fraud, a colossal example of it with so many layers, affecting so many innocent people, it is hard to imagine someone thinking they would get away with it.

As a documentary, it is as hilarious as it is infuriating. Modern culture is so blind and stupid it will spend millions, tens of millions, on lies delivered by pictures of women with plastic lips. Is it any wonder sometimes that people have no money?

It is a highly recommended documentary, it does open your eyes to what social media culture is really like, and how clueless “business-minded” people really are. Billy McFarlane is an example of what corporations want to hire these days: full of ideals, always talking, can-do attitude, clinically insane, apathetic, and blind to consequences. Makes you think about what’s wrong with corporations.

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Additional marshmallows: I like how the first person to leave the project is the eastern-European on the team; the most logical guy is too professional for them.

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