The second day of the 2012 Toronto After Dark Film Festival began with the amazing film, Crave.
Directed by Charles de Lauzirika, the film follows crime scene photographer Aiden (Josh Lawson) as he struggles with an inner voice that tempts him to become a vigilante. Aiden becomes more unstable over time, but finds comfort with his neighbour Virginia (Emma Lung). When Virginia loses interest in Aiden, his emotional state is shattered, leaving everybody vulnerable.
With a terrific supporting role from Ron Perlman as a cop who is friends with Aiden, Crave provided moments of over the top gore with some intense drama.
The character of Aiden spends a lot of time in a fantasy world. This is where some of the more outrageous gore happens. He imagines himself saving a woman being harassed on the subway, or taking a sledgehammer to the head of a man in front of him at an AA meeting. Each one of these scenes is very extreme, so it’s not hard to tell when they’re happening, but they slowly begin to mix with reality. Suddenly, they’re not as unbelievable as they were, and it becomes a bit harder to tell what is really happening.
Mixed throughout the film are some truly hilarious moments, easing up the tension that the movie creates. I found myself laughing out loud many times in the movie, something I wouldn’t normally do. Without these scenes of dark comedy, the film could easily have been too intense. This also helps to give the film a true sense of reality. There are times in our darkest moments that laughter seems like the only reaction. It may appear to be inappropriate, but it may also be the only way to really handle what’s happening. Josh Lawson plays this role perfectly. He doesn’t become insane like you might imagine, but is more overcome with the fantasies that he has. His character is losing control, but never becomes an insane lunatic. It helps to ground the film and keeps it from becoming over the top.
Charles de Lauzirika has produced and directed an incredible amount of behind the scenes documentaries for films like Blade Runner and Prometheus, but Crave is his first feature film, and it’s an incredible start. He’s certainly got more practice than other first time filmmakers, and I’m sure this helps, but you can’t deny that this is a powerful film. It also takes a very realistic look at something many of us have probably felt at one time. How do you handle the fact that criminals will frequently re-offend? Wouldn’t it be easier to stop them for good? Ron Perlman’s character plays a large role in this area. As Pete, a cop and friend of Aiden, he tries to guide Aiden through these questions that so many police officers have. It’s a great role and Perlman plays it with the right amount of subtlety. Some of the over the top gore will keep it out of the mainstream, but Crave would make a great addition to every genre fans library.
Under the marquee – Will