Welcome to Friday Night Flix, where there’s never a need to leave the couch or put on pants. Each week I’ll recommend an under-the-radar movie currently available on one or more of the major streaming platforms. They won’t all be classics, but every selection is guaranteed to be 100% watchable or your money back.
Crave (Netflix) is a gorgeous but deathly slow-paced psychological vigilante thriller. It’s far from perfect but I liked it quite a bit.
Crave is the feature directing debut of Charles de Lauzirika, a longtime associate of Ridley Scott. De Lauzirika has dozens upon dozens of directing credits on his resume, but they’re mostly DVD featurettes. So when Ridley Scott made Prometheus, for example, De Lauzirika was his go-to man for the featurette “The Furious Gods: Making Prometheus.”
Possibly this movie is something of a reward for a lifetime of service. From a photography standpoint, De Lauzirika knocks it out of the park. He has total command of spacing, lighting and storyboarding, making his movie often feel vastly more interesting than it really is.
There’s nothing wrong with any of the acting. Both leads are perfectly serviceable and Ron Perlman is Ron Perlman, which gives the movie an automatic boost. We even get a few scenes with Edward Furlong, who totally should have been cast as Toad in the latest X-Men movie.
The main issues are pacing and less than subtle voiceover. This movie easily could have been 90 minutes instead of its bloated, overindulgent 115. There’s a fifteen minute blackmail subplot that, while interesting, could have been pulled completely without affecting the movie at all.
The main character is probably going insane as we watch, or perhaps he was always nuts. But the choice to show us that via echoey voices in his head — voices that command him to do things, chastise him, etc. — feels crude. It removes the fun of figuring out which gears in this guy’s head are broken when his bickering inner monologues spell his issues out so clearly.
Nevertheless, Crave is a generally intelligent and consistently pretty outing for a director who’s long overdue for a day in the sun.
Added bonus: Filmed on location in Detroit! Don’t get me wrong, I live in New York and I love(/hate) it. It’s the most recognizable and thematically charged setting a director could ask for. But does every depressing movie have to shoot here? I do not like how NYC has become the market leader in despair and angst.