Behind every great disaster is a fascinating story. And, as our society continues to amass more ways to document our every interaction with Instagram and other social media tools, these great stories become easier and easier to tell. “Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened,” a new Netflix documentary about the infamous musical festival catastrophy in the Bahamas, is a perfect example of this new era in storytelling where even the most damning interactions are intentionally filmed — because if it didn’t get shared online, did it actually happen?
‘Fyre’ isn’t constructed around unraveling a mystery and it doesn’t pivot on any unforeseen twist. The film is built from the assumption that everyone knows how this shitshow ends. From the beginning, the calamity awaiting this doomed festival looms amid every interaction with and beneath every decision of Fyre’s notorious founder — Billy McFarland. This dread also haunts the faces and stories told by the principal characters who McFarland roped into his fantastical dream. ‘Fyre,’ then, is like watching a car crash in slow motion. There is no question of how awfully this thing will end for everyone involved, but it is hard not to be captivated by the devilishly charming ringmaster who continually tightens the rope around the neck of his own business. This includes hiring videographers to document his every move — whether it be on a tropical island paradise or in a New York penthouse while, quite literally, committing fraud.