Fantastic Fest 2012: ‘Crave’ earnest and compelling

Crave
Directed by Charles de Lauzirika
Written by Robert Lawton & Charles de Lauzirika
USA, 2012

Genre movies express and nourish the unconscious thoughts, fears, and desires of their audience. Fans of thrillers or action films first find their morbid curiosities sated and then their dreams of heroism and personal strength. Crave might be the most literally psychological thriller ever made, but calling it such feels disingenuous. It’s an in depth character study of an irrelevant and unnoticed man, an intelligent examination of a doomed tryst, and a thriller–but the film’s propulsion and genre dressings come entirely from its protagonist’s mess of neuroses and self-deceptions.

Primarily, though, Crave is a film about two characters who deeply desire things that they cannot or should not desire. Aiden (Josh Lawson) is a mid-30s crime-scene photographer who is constantly stuck in his head. In frequent voiceover, Aiden invents scenarios, chastises himself, and pleads for greater control–often hilariously. One day he meets Virginia (Emma Lung), a neighboring tenant in his apartment complex, and, after several successfully charming encounters, finds himself winning her over. As Virginia begins to like and have sex with him, Aiden’s outlook and attitude begin to change. His cluttered, rambling thought processes become streamlined and begin to take shape in reality. He confronts a rude woman at a grocery. He begins a clandestine blackmail campaign against a wealthy sociopath. After enduring a robbery at a corner shop, he picks up the ditched gun.

It seems logical, having seen Crave, that somebody ought to make a thriller derived from a character’s uncontrollable desire to live a thriller. But the film goes far deeper than that, shifting genre as the Aiden’s needs require. And while there are a few moments where the comedy shifts too far into farce, the tonal balance in this film is generally marvelous. And much of that success comes from Josh Lawson’s intimate and sympathetic portrayal of Aiden. His character, so deeply self-involved, spends as much energy fretting over passing glances as he does over getting shot at by an enraged hooker. Which makes him a grounding force in a movie with wild and constant shifts of tone and content.

Emma Lung, with significantly less screentime, crafts a vivid character out of a potentially stock role. Occasionally seeming to be a mere sexual catalyst for our hero’s personal awakening, Lung transcends type to make Virginia realistic, sympathetic, and just as broken as Aiden. The relationship Aiden and Virginia form is honest and human, and could only exist with two completely engaged actors. There is an alternate universe where this film is Virginia’s.

Aiden’s friend and AA partner, Pete (Ron Perlman), is an unsurprising highlight providing light noir flourishes and a comic foil for Lawson. The design and sound of the flick are top notch as well, between a tense and driving soundtrack and beautiful location shooting in Detroit. Crave may have some trouble finding a following because of its difficult–and ultimately deeply, deeply flawed–protagonist. His journey is not heroic, but it is earnest and compelling. And so is this film.

Emmet Duff

Fantastic Fest runs September 20th – 27th.




Add Comment


10 Different Types of Financial Aid
Top 10 Richest American Idols
V-Moda Crossfade Wireless
The 5 Most Expensive Wireless Headphones: Ultimate Auditory Clarity
Business man watching business go bankrupt
25 Iconic Companies that Filed for Bankruptcy
7 Different Types of Roller Coasters
7 Surprising Physical and Mental Health Benefits of Playing Video Games
Females acting
7 Different Types of Acting Methods (Plus Acting Classes for Beginner Actors)
Accordion
17 Different Types of Accordion
8 Different Types of Cantaloupes
5 Different Types of Maple Syrup
Pâté filled in a jar and spread on a toast
11 Different Types of Pate
16 Different Types of Apples
19 Different Types of Construction Vehicles
Fire Truck with Warm Yellow Lights
9 Different Types of Fire Trucks
22 Different Types of Forklifts for Indoor and Outdoor Work
Trains
17 Different Types of Trains
54 Different Types of Sports Played (Individual and Team Sports)
15 Different Types of Goggles
13 Different Types of Dumbbells
15 Awesome Alternatives to Skateboards (Plus Interesting Facts)
16 Different Types of Technology
man holding smartphone with vintage case
11 Types of Cell Phone Cases and Covers to Protect Your Expensive Smartphone
Black and Red Tablet Covers
8 Types of Tablet Cases for Kids, Protection, and Convenience
Camera, lenses and other photography equipments.
45 of the Best Online Camera Stores for the Perfect Pics