Crave, from director Charles de Lauzirika, isn’t a story that’s entirely new as it draws inspiration from films like Taxi Driver and Falling Down, but it does offer an interesting look into the mind of a man struggling with his inner demons. It’s very much a psychological trip that often times comes very close to setting itself apart from a lot of other films in the genre, unfortunately, it just never quite finds its way. The film follows a downtrodden photographer, haunted by the urban violence and decay around him, who retreats into an inner world of dark fantasies.
Man, Crave was so close to being something so much better. It had the right ideas and it even hit some amazing notes along the way, but it’s ultimately just one long tease. Josh Lawson stars as Aiden, a photographer who’s constantly on the verge of destruction, and while Lawson is a fine actor, it just never felt like he was able to settle into the role. I mean, the entire point of this movie is to watch this man slowly descend into the darkest corners of his own mind, and who is quite frankly batshit crazy. Lawson never convinced me of that, and it’s unfortunate because there were moments where he does shine. Crave often relieves the tension by infusing it with dark humor, and this is where I thought Lawson does his best work as he was able to turn the switch often and seamlessly.
There are some utterly insane scenes in the film that come from these violent thoughts that play out inside Aiden’s head. And while these moments are without a doubt the best parts that the film has to offer, they are only just a taste of what the movie could have been. These brilliant scenes of violence are equally as amazing as they are frustrating because they are never actually happening. What this does is create anticipation for something bigger and better, that single moment where Aiden finally snaps and all hell breaks loose. Except it never does, and that’s truly this film’s biggest downfall. It offers plenty to get excited about, it just never finishes through. By the time the film reaches it’s clumsy finale, all that’s left is what could have been.
There’s a lot to like about Crave, it never gets boring, offers some solid visuals, and dishes out enough of the red stuff to please any fan of the genre. Which brings me to my favorite moment in the film—there’s a particular scene where Aiden imagines himself taking a sledge hammer to the head of an unsuspecting man who was getting on his nerves, and the result is nothing short of brilliant. This dude’s head explodes in a glorious amount of blood that leaves nothing behind but an eyeball that quietly rests on the shoulder of the girl that sits next to his lifeless body. It’s shit like that that gets me excited for what Lauzirika has up his sleeve for the future. All in all, Crave is a solid debut that only barely misses the mark.