Review: Toronto After Dark Film Festival – Crave
I went into Crave blindly; I didn’t read or watch anything for it beforehand because I wanted my experience and opinions to be unaffected. The only thing I knew prior was that Ron Pearlman was the biggest name in the cast, which I found somewhat intriguing. Charles de Lauzirika, the first time director and writer of Crave, introduced it to the audience. He prefaced the film by saying that “a lot of what’s in the film is inspired by my real life and I hope you still want to talk to me after…” and after that de Lauzirika mentioned that he was afraid that this was his only shot at ever making a film so he put in everything he could. Obviously most of the film is highly exaggerated for entertainment purposes but it’s really hard to separate what may have been inspired and what was pure fiction because someone’s ego got in the way of the film’s clarity. What is clear is that this film is a mess.
Crave is an example of a very unprofessional first feature film. While I admire and understand that Charles felt so passionate about his first feature film and I could feel the ambition in trying to include so much, the film ultimately collapses upon itself because there is so much going on without any focus or purpose. It isn’t clear what the film wants to be or wants to say. Is this a romance? A character study? A horror? A sci-fi adventure? It was none of the above at any time. What it was, though, was an unfiltered look at someone, that someone being the main character (Aiden) but also, Charles, the director.
Initially, Crave worked well enough. There was some character development, and I found the romance side of the film mildly intriguing and that was about it. Where the film completely lost me with no hopes of getting me back were the last 20 minutes or so. Judging by my count, the film had about 25 endings before it actually ending, and there is one scene within those final 20 minutes that just feels longer than any scene I’ve ever seen before. And that is when it became clear to me that though Crave is not an awful film, it’s just a very poor attempt at trying to be everything all at once without any purpose or guidance. More than anything, Crave becomes a What Not To Do for first time filmmakers. Unfortunately, the film is a self-indulgent, overwrought, long and poorly edited film.
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