Fantasia Festival Review – The Columnist

In the beginning, the internet was a magic and mysterious place. A place where you could connect with people around the world at the touch of a button. Where information and excitement was only a dial-up away.  Then it all went to shit. Whilst the ability to consume and share is now easier than ever, there are trolls lurking round every corner. Just waiting to spoil everything or threaten to kill you. In Ivo van Aart’s new film, The Columnist, it’s time to fight back.

Femke (Katja Herbers) is a popular liberal columnist who is in the process of trying to write a book. She lives with her teenage daughter Anna (Claire Porro), who is a chip off the old bock. However, she makes the mistake of reading ‘below the line’. And once she ‘pops’ she just can’t stop. Femke is swept up in a cacophony of abuse, death threats and much more. Habit soon turns into an obsession. Until she decides enough is enough.

What’s so impressive about The Columnist is the way it approaches its subject matter. This is not simply a throw-away revenge horror. And whilst some of the comedy is very on the nose, there’s also a studied drama thrown into the mix. Tackling an important social issue through the eyes of van Aart’s unlikely hero. This depth allows us to empathise and also root-for Femke when she finally snaps. Above all though, The Columnist is bloody good fun.

The Columnist screens at Fantasia Festival.

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