A walking, talking, tsunami of utter bullshit, Michael Organ is an insufferable man who was born to be smacked across his face. David Farrier’s “Mister Organ” sharply unravels the layers of lies and criminal acts perpetrated by this extremely dangerous individual. In doing so, the director has created one of the most consistently enthralling documentaries to come along in quite a while.
Farrier’s film originally began as a sort of human-interest tale regarding Jillian Bashford, the owner of an antique store named Bashford Antiques in Ponsonby, Auckland (New Zealand). Tired of people illegally parking on her property, Bashford hired a mysterious contractor to put automobile boots on cars and charged victims up to $760 for as little as 30 minutes of parking. Organ would block their cars with his big van and basically strong arm these innocent folks.
Almost immediately after the release of Farrier’s article, the director is slapped with the threat of legal action in an e-mail received from a supposed lawyer identified as “MDA Organ.”
It comes to pass that no such lawyer exists.
So begins the strange tale of David Farrier’s eerie and exhausting “relationship” with one Michael Organ.
The filmmaker spends endless days and nights trying to get inside the head of Organ and finds it to be an impossible and maddening undertaking, yet he cannot give up.
The filmmaker learns that Organ falsely claims to be an actual prince (he is not) and spent time in prison for stealing a yacht (he did). Through conversations with ex-lovers, friends, and roommates, we learn the man left a wake of broken spirits and shattered lives from almost everyone who entered his dangerously dishonest universe. Organ is quite calculated in his cruelty.
As one interviewee claims, “If Michael went to Hell, the Devil would be banging on the door screaming, ‘Get me away from Michael!’”
Viewers will want to give director Farrier a comforting hug and buy him a few pints for taking on “Mister Organ”, the movie, and the man. The filmmaker spent endless hours drowning in physical interviews and ridiculous phone with his subject. Michael Organ is a deeply disturbed individual who lives a lie in every waking moment; his reality a fiction that changes from day to day.
“Mister Organ” reveals its subject to be an absolute villain; a man who is meticulous in cruelty and vicious to anyone who confronts him with the truth. One person calls him a “demonic spirit”. If this were true, we could exorcise him from our world. The horrifying reality is that Michael Organ is a living, breathing, person who walks among us, truly a monster in human skin.
What David Farrier does is rather fascinating and ultimately ironic. The director is sharp in his research and tireless efforts to get to the truth of this maniac. Ultimately, he needs to do nothing at all, as Organ reveals himself through his prattling on about his crimes. As with any narcissist, everything anyone says about him is a lie and his time in prison was a frame job. All all wrong and out to get him.
The film already builds like a carefully constructed thriller and is enhanced by Lachlan Anderson’s moody score that makes the dark aura of Michael Organ hit on creepier levels.
As Ferrier says in his narration, “Michael Organ is a black hole, and I’ve fallen in.” Through the filmmaker’s tireless encounters with the devil he never wanted to know, audiences will gladly fall into the hole with him.
Guided by a story that holds constant interest with twists worthy of the best Sherlock Holmes mystery, “Mister Organ” is an excellent documentary.
Directed by David Ferrier
NR, 96 Minutes, Firefly Films/Bloom Pictures