Mr. Fish: Cartooning from the Deep End (2017) [Doc NYC 2017]

The life of cartoonist Mr. Fish has seen through his eyes and those of his loved ones, co-workers, and a few other people.

From director Pablo Bryant, this documentary mixes interviews with a lot of visual material, giving a good idea of who Mr. Fish is, how he thinks, and how he creates. The film covers his life from childhood until now and shows not only how he works but also his home life which has an influence on his work and vice versa. This is done in a way that gives a good, unobstructed view of things and lets the viewer make their own mind as to if Mr. Fish is doing things right or not. Of course, the film does come at the subject from a specific angle and has its own agenda, but that does not keep it from having an openness about its subject.

Mr. Fish himself is an interesting person with his own beliefs and ways about life. His not particularly someone that fits into organized society, yet he does come off as making sense on some of his points and choices. His life is heavily influenced by his wife and kids, whether he wants it or not. His home life looks just about normal, except for a few unusual things, for a creative person making a living with their art. The view on this is something that can apply to a lot of creative jobs, creating a connection with the viewer if they are a creative or know someone who is. This connection is tantamount to the viewer wanting to watch the entire documentary as it is a somewhat political one that many will not agree with.

That being said, the film is one that is important as it underlines how freedom of speech can be removed and can be hurt when artists are muzzled. Mr. Fish is a film that makes very good points on this for everyone to see whether they are on the right, the left, or somewhere in the middle. The life of an artist is interesting to watch and the many points made about freedom of speech and the safety of those who express opinions that may be against the grain or against certain people are very important in a world where one can get fired for opinions or for their work place having opinions not all agree with. Mr. Fish himself seems to be playing both sides of many issues to show the reality of things in a sometimes humorous way.