×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Crave

Had the exceedingly violent and mischief-minded "Crave" taken itself a bit more seriously, it might have been a dangerous thing -- a kind of "Catcher in the Rye" for unstable film nerds, a fantasy-fueling picture of a sympathetic outcast with a vigilante instinct and a vivid imagination.

With:
With: Josh Lawson, Emma Lung, Ron Perlman, Edward Furlong.

Had the exceedingly violent and mischief-minded “Crave” taken itself a bit more seriously, it might have been a dangerous thing — a kind of “Catcher in the Rye” for unstable film nerds, a fantasy-fueling picture of a sympathetic outcast with a vigilante instinct and a vivid imagination. As is, helmer-writer Charles de Lauzirika’s accomplished debut feature is too funny and self-aware to be disturbing, but it’s certainly memorable, and should find a distributor and a place in the hearts of genre fans.

Lauzirika’s script owes quite a bit to “Taxi Driver” and “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” although its hero is neither a psycho nor a milquetoast. Instead, Aiden (Josh Lawson) is a Detroit crime-scene photographer, a freelance portraitist of Motor City carnage, whose conscience is beginning to get to him. In the voiceover that runs through the film, he berates himself for being an observer rather than a man of action (even though it’s unclear what he might have done for the victims he photographs).

His mind is rife with revenge fantasies: While riding the Detroit metro, he watches two men harass a young woman and constructs an elaborate scheme about shooting them; in reality, he walks meekly off the train. Each brush Aiden has with urban crime is accompanied by a scene of what he would do, if only he could. And then one night, after he’s caught up in a bodega robbery, he finds a gun on the street and puts it in his pocket.

Lauzirika and co-writer Robert Lawton wrap Aiden and his imagination in elaborately grotesque scenarios; in one of the funnier (and more gratifying) scenes, he takes a sledgehammer to the skulls of a long-winded couple at an AA meeting, reducing their crania to ketchup. While this strategy makes “Crave” both unnerving and engaging, it also prevents the viewer from becoming overly absorbed in Aiden’s efforts to remake himself as either an avenging angel or a Romeo: Aiden is understandably enchanted by a woman in his apartment building, the comely Virginia (Emma Lung), who’s in a troubled relationship with the skeevy Ravi (Edward Furlong).

At times, the helmer plays things for laughs when a more sober approach might have been wiser; the film’s playfulness causes the action to spike, but renders the tone more erratic. “Crave” offers some of its better moments when Aiden and his police-detective pal Peter (a pitch-perfect Ron Perlman) engage in the kind of low-key exchanges and situations that cast the film in a classic noirish light.

Perfs are first-rate. Lawson plays Aiden as a shlump with potential, as well as a knack for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. Lung makes the considerably younger Virginia precociously sexy, knowing and vulnerable. Perlman is simply terrific, and Furlong, in a limited role, makes Ravi fairly repellent.

Although “Crave” is Lauzirika’s first feature, he is the producer behind the special-edition box sets of “Blade Runner,” “Twin Peaks” and the “Alien” anthology, as well as behind-the-scenes content for work by David Lynch, Sam Raimi, James Cameron and the Coen brothers. “Crave” seems to have benefited, as tech credits are tops. The sound work by Gerald B. Wolfe and Chris Reynolds is superb, and William Eubank’s shooting makes Detroit look like the Emerald City.

Crave

Production: An Iron Helmet presentation in association with Another Green World Prods. Produced by Charles de Lauzirika, Robert O. Green. Co-producers, Marissa Neiman, Scott Robinson. Directed by Charles de Lauzirika. Screenplay, Robert Lawton, Lauzirika; story, Lawton.

Crew: Camera (color), William Eubank; editor, David Crowther; music, Justin Caine Burnett; production designer, David L. Snyder; art director, Malerie Lyman; set decorator, Effney Gardea; costume designer, Oakley Stevenson; sound, Gerald B. Wolfe; supervising sound editor/re-recording mixer, Chris Reynolds; associate producer, Raleigh Stewart; casting, Anne McCarthy, Dayna Polehanki. Reviewed at Fantasia Film Festival, Montreal, July 24, 2012. Running time: 113 MIN.

With: With: Josh Lawson, Emma Lung, Ron Perlman, Edward Furlong.

More Film

  • Cannes: China's 'Summer of Changsha' Debuts

    Cannes: China's 'Summer of Changsha' Debuts Without Censorship Approval

    Chinese crime drama “Summer of Changsha” screened at the Cannes Film Festival in the Un Certain Regard section despite lacking the necessary approvals from China’s censors. It premiered without its director or creative team in attendance, who blamed “technical reasons” for their absence — marking the third time that Chinese censorship appears to have caused [...]

  • Jane Austin SAG AFTRA

    SAG-AFTRA Secretary-Treasurer Jane Austin Running for President

    Jane Austin, the National Secretary-Treasurer of SAG-AFTRA, has become the third candidate for the presidency of the performers union, joining incumbent Gabrielle Carteris and Matthew Modine. Austin is running as an independent for the top post at SAG-AFTRA, which has 160,000 members. Carteris will seek re-election as the head of the ticket for the Unite [...]

  • John Wick Chapter 3

    'John Wick: Chapter 3' Tones Down the Blood and Gore to Keep Look 'Totally Real'

    When Jeff Campbell, a visual effects supervisor with VFX studio Spin, initially set to work on the first “John Wick,” the 2014 action thriller from director Chad Stahelski and writer Derek Kolstad, he started with an industry-standard test: Establish a single, simple kill effect meant to get a sense of the look of the violence [...]

  • Louise Courvoisier’s ‘Mano a Mano’ Wins Cinéfondation

    Louise Courvoisier’s ‘Mano a Mano’ Wins Cannes Cinefondation Selection Top Prize

    CANNES–“Mano a Mano,” by Louise Courvoisier of France’s CinéFabrique, won the first prize Thursday at the 22nd Cinéfondation Selection,the Cannes Film Festival’s top film school shorts awards. The prize was awarded by a jury headed by French director Claire Denis (“Beau Travail”). The jury also included French actress Stacy Martin (“Godard mon amour”); Israeli writer-director Eran [...]

  • The Traitor

    Cannes Film Review: 'The Traitor'

    What surprises most about Marco Bellocchio’s Mafia drama “The Traitor” is just how straightforward it is. Given its subject — Tommaso Buscetta, the highest-ranking Mafia don to sing to the authorities — there were expectations that the director would deliver a theatrical drama along the lines of “Vincere,” but notwithstanding a few operatic flourishes, his [...]

  • Perfect Strangers

    Zhao Tao, Rajkumar Hirani Join Shanghai Festival Jury

    Italian director Paolo Genovese and Chinese actress Zhao Tao are among members of the jury for the upcoming Shanghai International Film Festival. They join the previously announced jury president, 2014 Cannes Palme d’Or winner Nuri Bilge Ceylan, the Turkish director behind last year’s “The Wild Pear Tree.” Genovese’s 2016 film “Perfect Strangers” made $7.7 million [...]

  • ‘An Easy Girl’ Wins Cannes Directors’

    ‘An Easy Girl’ Wins Cannes Directors’ Fortnight French-language Movie Prize

    CANNES  —  One of France’s most highly-regarded young women filmmakers, Rebecca Zlotowski, has won the Directors’ Fortnight prize for best French-language movie for “An Easy Girl,” a sensual coming of age tale set on France’s Cote d’Azur. From reviews published to date, “An Easy Girl” marks a return to form for Zlotowski after the disappointment [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content