Fried Barry Movie Review
Written by Rebecca McCallum
Released by The Department of Special Projects
Written and directed by Ryan Kruger
2020, 109 minutes, Not Yet Rated
Grimmfest UK Premiere on 11th October 2020
Gary Green as Barry
Chanelle de Jager as Suz
Brett Williams as Jono
Joey Cramer as Self
Meet Barry, he doesn’t say much but he’s a good listener. A waif figure in double denim with long, white, straggly hair he bears a passing resemblance to Bob, the supernatural fiend of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks… We follow Barry (Gary Green) as he experiences a series of highs and lows after taking a wide and ever replenishing variety of drugs. As he wanders about the landscape of a town made up of a fog of booze, sex and apathy, an electronic score screeches and shrieks, almost as though it is stirring something up from within the lonesome man. Some films are made to be dissected and discussed and others are made to be experienced, but Fried Barry proves itself to be a true rarity by being able to occupy both camps. Initially a 3-minute short experimental film, this visceral work of art comes from the creative brain of Ryan Kruger.
Right away, we are brought into both Barry’s disconnected and heightened experiences through use of jaunted camera angles and the soundtrack which all blend together in a kind of Jackson Pollock style mess of elegance. All this is delivered via the sometimes childlike and often vulnerable performance of Green, who wears the strain of his life in each crevice of what is one of the most captivating faces I’ve ever seen. Moving from location to location across a city which can be both terrifyingly ugly and strangely beautiful, Fried Barry could perhaps best be described as a hypnotic, stimulant-fuelled sex odyssey.
We watch as Barry is pushed into nightclubs, force fed drugs and used for sex by women and men from all walks of life. In a hilarious moment during intercourse, when he is too absent from reality to yell out cries of pleasure, he is urged by his female partner to make some noises of enjoyment. In response to this he whoops like a cowboy and it’s this insertion of comedy that works nicely to offset the darker moments - of which there are many! Pretty soon into proceedings we learn that while Barry might appear largely passive, he also has a bit of fight in him and, more importantly, that he possesses a supernatural power to both heal and harm those who cross his path. In addition to seeing Barry soaking up the horrors of the streets we also peer into his home life, which is just as bizarre and dysfunctional.
A fantastic series of misadventures, including a spectacular scene with a chainsaw (and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is this writer’s favourite film of all time), an instantaneous impregnation of a woman, imprisonment by a psychopath and a committal to a psychiatric hospital, Fried Barry is not for the faint-hearted. As superb as it is, however, none of this would be half as effective without the haunting sound (Haezer) and hypnotically gorgeous aesthetic (from Director of Photography, Gareth Place) which take you deep into Kruger’s nightmarish fairground ride. In his directorial debut, Kruger has managed to create a 99-minute plunge into a world that is as uncomfortable as any Lynchian film and as raw and guttural as any Irvine Welsh novel. What makes Fried Barry so particularly special is the purity it elicits through its boldness and the fearlessness of its insistence on pushing the boundaries. With his unique voice and penchant for the experimental, if you are a genre fan, Kruger should be firmly on top of your ‘Directors to Watch’ list.
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