The bizarre world of the 35-year-old freelance photographer Aiden is half fantasy, half reality, occasionally bloody, and all types of pathetic. Writer and director Charles de Laurizika presented this interesting yet incredibly common character to the audiences at Toronto After Dark with Crave, a lengthy, psychological journey that oscillates wildly between comedy and drama.
Between working as a crime-scene photographer, and listening to fantastic adages hurled by his detective friend Pete, played by the brilliant Ron Perlman, Aiden fantasies about the typical things that most average man think about: being a hero, being rich, being famous, and being adored by women.
He wishes, craves if you will, to be important, and his tangential musings offer some hysterical laughs and bloody results, particularly during some Larry David-esque moments where fellow members of society bother him. But Aiden, like most people, does not act. And while he is painfully and awkwardly real and normal—he is sort of funny, sort of attractive, sort of smart-the problem with the film is that reality is boring, and when it’s not boring, it’s depressing.
There are plenty of fun moments in the film, most of them involving whether or not Aiden is actually dreaming, say when he has a sudden liaison with his younger, very attractive neighbor, but the overarching theme of the movie has to do with helplessness and mediocrity. And that’s tough.
The horror comes more from the realization that most people lead lives of quiet desperation, and Aiden is certainly in it. Thankfully, Pete sees things a different way, and spends his screen time as the grizzled police officer offering great fortune-cookie wisdom such as, ‘It’s raining $50 bills, and you’re upset it’s not raining hundreds.”
That might just be a metaphor for a movie—it’s a $50 flick, not a $100 one.
So he offers some relief, as does the comedy, but just as Aiden is trapped in his own desperate and confusing head, so are you. It is very passive-aggressive of Aiden to involve us in his thoughts, saying that he wants to step up, take action, be a man et cetera et cetera, but here he is moping. And we have to deal with it.
A very-well made movie, with a few surprises—all bloody or comedic—but it’s a tough journey, and one that is about 15-20 minutes too long. A curious selection for the festival, the film is ambitious, surely one of the most thoughtful films in the lineup. For those horror lovers, while there are no real scares, we do have ourselves a few bloody death—both real and otherwise–sex and nudity, and the rectangular-headed Ron Perlman.