Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
Crave: A Violent Imagination
freelance crime photographer certainly lacks the endearing personality and slightly
ribald history of the great Weegee (a.k.a. Arthur Fellig). He is also a bit
challenged in the mental health department as well. His violent fantasies
threaten to erupt into his real life during Charles de Lauzirika’s Crave (trailer here), which opens in
select theaters later in the week.
is constantly thinking of what he might do to stand up the rampant crime around
him, if he only had the guts. Typically,
his fantasies involve some bloody form of payback, followed by an expression of
appreciation from an attractive bystander.
Photographing crime scenes has probably warped his perspective on
humanity. At least he still has one
friend: Pete, a cop and fellow AA member.
all odds, Aiden commences a halting romantic relationship with Virginia, the
neighbor he has long carried a torch for.
However, his extreme social awkwardness and simmering anger predictably pushes
her away, just about the time he pockets a discarded hand gun from a crime
scene. These developments will not have
a positive effect on his general stability.
genre-ish films are as uncompromisingly gritty and pessimistic as the ill-titled
Crave. Set in a pointedly crime-infested Detroit,
things start out thoroughly crummy and head swiftly downhill from there. The Walter Mitty sequences are a bit cartoonish,
but Lauzirika never stints on the gore.
Yet, it is the mental implications for Aiden that are truly disturbing.
problematic as Aiden undeniably is, Josh Lawson still manages to connect with
audiences on a human level. Light years
beyond nebbish, his self-defeating and delusional behavior is absolutely
excruciating to behold. This is a hard
film to watch, precisely because of acute embarrassment we frequently experience
on his behalf. Still, Crave certainly makes you feel more than
a month of quirky indies.
the extreme pathos and lurking creepiness of Lawson’s work is occasionally leavened
by Ron Perlman doing his thing as Pete.
Holding his shtick in check, he wisecracks within reason, while giving
the film a down-to-earth anchor. Emma
Lung’s Virginia comes across as a rather bland, lightweight object for
obsession (and her intuition is obviously substandard), but perhaps that is
sort of the point.
for producing deluxe DVD boxed sets, Lauzirika won the AMD Next Wave Best
Director Award at last year’s Fantastic Fest and one can see why. His approach is stylish, but he keeps the
visual madness tightly under control.
Despite Aiden’s tenuous connection to the world around him, ostensive
reality is always easy to determine throughout the film.
Lauzirika maintains the courage of his
convictions throughout Crave, which
is impressive, but frankly it is easy to wish he had punked out a little bit. Not really a horror film or a vigilante
thriller, but mindful of both cinematic traditions, Crave is a distinctive downer, recommended for those who looking
for something bold. It screens this
Thursday night (12/5) at the NoHo Laemmle in Los Angeles and opens in limited
release on Friday (12/6), also launching
on VOD via itunes the same day.
Labels: Ron Perlman