Craving a Better Movie
When I experience frustrating situations, I sometimes imagine I can do things with my mind: you know, make a stoplight change, an elevator arrive or an invisible zipper shut somebody’s mouth. These are mild imaginations compared to those of Aiden (Josh Lawson) in the movie Crave. He imagines shooting a punk on the subway, swinging a sledgehammer at an annoying talker’s head and taking a chainsaw to a foe.
Aiden’s imagination is vivid and first-time feature film director Charles de Lauzirika shares it completely and graphically with the audience of Crave. These scenes are really the only parts of the movie that cause its inclusion on a website called “Downright Creepy”. Otherwise, Crave is more of a psychological drama. I wouldn’t even call it a thriller.
Aiden is a freelance photographer, taking jobs here and there, mostly at crime scenes. Hiding behind his camera from the carnage he sees, he becomes more and more unstable. That is, until he meets his neighbor, Virginia (Emma Lung). I liked this part of Crave the most. The two agree to keep their relationship casual, but one of them puts more into it emotionally than the other. In an atypical switch, it’s the male, not the female. Instead of providing comfort for him, she causes him to unravel even faster.
For me, the suspense of Crave hinges on whether or not Aiden will finally crack and unleash the horrors of his imagination. And, for me, this is where the movie ultimately fails. It does a nice job of holding interest and building throughout, but does not necessarily pay off.
I liked Lawson as Aiden. He resembles a pudgy Will Forte, so I often felt like he was going to do something funny. It turns out this isn’t such a strange instinct, because he has appeared in comedies such as The Campaign and Anchorman 2. This conflicting reaction to the actor was a little unsettling, which actually favors the ambiguity of the character.
Ron Perlman appears in little more than a cameo as Aiden’s detective friend, Pete. He exists to not only provide some photographic opportunities for Aiden, but also as a sounding board for him to voice some of his motivations. Edward Furlong, growing more and more unidentifiable, has a little more screen time as Virginia’s estranged boyfriend.
Director Charles de Lauzirika won the AMD Next Wave Best Director award at 2012’s Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas. His previous experience is as a documentarian, having directed DVD bonuses for movies as diverse as Blade Runner and Thelma and Louise. This is a promising, if a little disjointed feature film debut. He co-wrote Crave with newcomer Robert Lawton. I’m curious which one of the two has the twisted imagination.
To say I’m conflicted about how to rate Crave would be an exaggeration. It’s been a week since I watched it and I’m having a hard time thinking of what more I can say about it. That’s normally a sign that a movie is simply average. With the subject matter, I wish I had liked it more. Instead, it was merely a 113-minute diversion.