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Review: Fried Barry

Ryan Kruger's Fried Barry is an experience in grotesquery that many will not be down for. The film follows a self-abusive man who gets abducted and possessed by an alien. The alien uses him to see the worst and sometimes the best, but mostly the worse, of humanity. It is a film that recalls The Man Who Fell to Earth and Under the Skin in plot alone. Stylistically, the film is closer to The Greasy Strangler.

The lack of a plot gives Fried Barry a hallucinogenic feel. The film simply follows the possessed Barry from one excess to another. The result is a film of diminishing effect as the debauchery that Barry gets into begins to feel routine as the film goes on. The film is based on a short film and one wonders if the shorter format helps make this punchier and more effective. As the film goes past the 40-minute mark, it begins to repeat ideas. What is the point of all of this? I wasn't exactly sure by the end of the film. There is a clever idea that Barry may have not been living life to the fullest before being possessed and the alien helps him to see this.

Gary Green is the film's true standout element. He is in almost every second of the film and is routinely captivating. His blend of physical awareness and humor is very effective. He understands the film's tone and the results are often compelling in individual moments even if the film doesn't add up to something satisfying. His performance kind of reminded me of a nastier, dirtier, Iggy Pop inspired take on Vincent D'Onofrio in Men In Black.

Cinematographer Gareth Place shoots the film in a frenetic style. Some of his images are fresh while many do feel taken or heavily inspired from other films. The possession scene is probably the most original visual moment in the film. He does capture the grime of this story and the people in it well.

Overall, Fried Barry is uneven but the committed performance from Gary Green keeps the film compelling even when the screenplay goes nowhere. The excessive nature of the film and the general gross feel of the world here may be too much for some. Others will see that as a dare and gleefully cheer with the film. I ended up somewhere in between.



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