Rating: Five Stars
“Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened” is a Netflix documentary about the failed Fyre Festival that took place in 2017 on the Bahamian island, Great Exuma. The documentary follows the rise and fall of the Fyre Festivals’ creator, Billy McFarland, as well as the numerous other people involved, including notable models like Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid. The documentary was released to Netflix on Jan. 18, and features exclusive content and behind the scenes footage from the festival itself.
The Fyre Festival was planned by McFarland, an up-and-coming entrepreneur, who came up with the idea as a way to promote his new app, Fyre Media. McFarland and his team were able to generate buzz about Fyre Festival with a convincing promotional video featuring the Fyre Media team hanging out with models on a tropical island. The video was shared across social media, particularly Instagram, and immediately started to gain traction. In raw footage from the festival’s production, McFarland promises that Fyre Festival will be “the biggest event of the decade.” The failure of the event has largely been blamed on insufficient planning, limited time, financial problems and false advertising.
At first, things appeared to be going well. Tickets were sold out, big-name talent was set to appear and the location and logistics were supposedly figured out. Prior to its launch, the festival was often described in the media as “the coolest party ever advertised.” As the festival neared its launch date, guests realized they had been lied to and the “luxury music festival” had been falsely advertised. Things quickly became chaotic as guests were fighting with one another for food, water and shelter. None of the promised accommodations had actually been set up by Fyre Media.
The documentary tells a chronological narrative of the events leading up to the festival’s production, the production and failed launch, the aftermath of Fyre Media and the guests who attended.
The film establishes Fyre Festival’s failure at the beginning, but doesn’t address why or how. The answer is revealed throughout the documentary as it follows the festival’s timeline. As a viewer, this made the film highly exciting because it feels as if you are discovering everything in the same way that the Fyre Media staff and festival attendees did. This has a major effect on the films ending and “twist” that leaves you wanting to learn everything you can about Fyre Media and its infamous founder.
The documentary has a run-time of one hour and thirty-seven minutes, making it a fast and fun viewing experience. Chris Smith’s direction, seen through his use of cinematography and interviews also make the film entertaining, in addition to being informative.
The cinematography in particular is something that has stuck with me after watching the film. The footage of the event is already well shot but the interviews with the festival attendees and the Fyre Media team are excellently crafted. You can tell that there was a lot of care given to this story and the people involved.
Overall, “Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened” is a documentary that will keep viewers engaged and will leave them wanting more. The subject matter is culturally relevant, making it a must-see film for this generation.