Starring Josh Lawson, Emma Lung, Ron Perlman, and Edward Furlong
Directed by Charles de Lauzirika
Last night was the world premiere for an interesting movie written and directed by Charles de Lauzirikia, up until this point a very experienced documentarian and DVD/Blu-Ray producer. As it turned out, Crave was Lauzirika’s feature directorial debut despite having a ridiculous amount of experience with video documentaries. As the lovely end credits rolled I knew that I had been part of a very special screening, and quite possibly the best movie that I had seen at the festival so far. Crave is both endearing and deliciously evil, as well as darkly comedic and deadly serious. A unique way to describe a unique film.
Crave takes place inside and out of the mind of Aiden (Lawson), a freelance crime scene photographer in his 30’s who seems to be losing his grip on reality. We don’t know if Aiden has always had a bit of problem retreating inside his head, or if this is a recent occurrence, but his fantasies which often include sex and ultraviolence are unsettling to say the least. Aiden keeps his friend Pete (Perlman), a veteran homicide detective, up to date on the status of his fantasies and his hatred of inconsiderate people, but Pete seems to think that Aiden is as normal as they come. Aiden’s life takes a positive turn when Virginia, his cute neighbour, begins to give Aiden some sorely needed attention. However, Aiden’s worsening fantasies and his social awkwardness seem to ruin any good thing that comes his way. Will Aiden’s crime scene photography prove to be enough of a distraction or will the thin wall between fantasy and reality crumble with sinister consequences?
It’s incredibly easy to praise Crave, as it had so much going for it. The only time I was concerned about the film was in the opening moments during some heavy-handed use of narration. However, its use turned out to be innovative rather than heavy-handed as the narration gives the audience the perfect idea of what it’s like to live inside Aiden’s head. Some of the funniest moments of the film are a result of this narration. It’s great to see one of the most over-used storytelling devices in film being used for good rather than evil. I won’t spoil it, but there is a cameo in Aiden’s narrations that is absolutely priceless.
Josh Lawson and the rest of the cast hit all the right notes and add new layers to the already intriguing world of Crave. Lawson in particular catapults Crave into a very special place. Given the fine line that the film walks in terms of comedy and darkness, and the need for the audience to like Aiden at times and then hate him at others, the lead actor could have clearly made or broken the film, regardless of how competently the rest of it was made. Lawson was perfect and after watching the film, it’s hard to imagine anyone else matching or outdoing his performance as Aiden. Emma Lung is charming as hell in a very believable performance as she tries to decide exactly how she feels about this strange man she’s involved herself with.
It’s hard to believe that this is Lauzirika’s feature debut, even considering his experience as a filmmaker in general. One could assume that he would have some success with a feature given his experience, but it was surprising that I didn’t even detect a stumble throughout the narrative. The storytelling felt incredibly original, the dialogue seamless, while the comedy felt unique and seemed to surprise the audience time and time again.
I should include something critical to say about Crave and balance out my review, but I can’t. Crave had me glued to the screen and is one of the best feature debuts I’ve ever seen.