A violent and intriguing film, let down slightly by a messy last act.
I have always enjoyed films where I’ve been able to connect on some personal level with the protagonist, and while murdering people is not one of my goals in life, watching Aiden (Josh Lawson) get to the point where his crazy imaginings become a reality is somewhat relatable. I’m sure we all wish we could behave in a certain way around others by being completely honest with them, or being able to act out on our desires. Aiden sees things in a far more violent way than most would ever dare and finally goes too far as his lines blur then finally cross over until he (and initially, we) can’t tell if what he’s doing is real or his imagination running rampant again.
The socially awkward Aiden feels as though he’s a failure and is unable to handle real life, as if he isn’t quite ready for adulthood yet. He watches what goes on around him, wishing he could act more confidently and assertively, but instead daydreams about the way he should’ve behaved instead of shying away from everything and everyone that matters.
Crave begins with Aiden carrying out his job as a freelance photographer at a crime scene, taking pictures of a murdered pretty young girl, where via a monologue, tells himself it’s time to take action against the people who commit these crimes. At the scene is his one and only friend, Pete (Ron Perlman), a detective who attends AA meetings with our hero.
Aiden is on the train heading home after taking his grisly photographs, when two young punks get on and begin to annoy a young woman, making sexually explicit remarks, who was minding her own business. We watch as Aiden casually and confidently tries to reason with the thugs but ends up pulling a fancy-looking gun and shooting one of them in the knee. He orders the other guy to help his buddy off the train and is then rewarded with oral sex from the young woman he rescued. It turns out to be another one of his many fantasies that he elaborately creates throughout Crave. He has imagined conversations with Bill Gates who is desperate to buy his invention that allows everyone bad to be instantly disintegrated and is offering to pay $1 billion.
Aiden is convinced if he owned a gun people would take him seriously. His car is a mess and he struggles to get it started each morning and he can barely pay the bills with what little money he earns. He gets robbed in a store that’s being held up one night and decides to follow the criminal. He hears over the police scanner in his car that another robbery has just happened a block away so Aiden goes to where the crime has occurred. The store owner is dead and there’s a gun lying on the sidewalk which he picks up and decides to keep. Soon a chance to use the gun comes along but things don’t go quite as planned.
After seeing a young woman, Virginia (Emma Lung) fighting with her boyfriend, Ravi (Edward Furlong) he strikes up a conversation with her and soon they’re in a relationship but Aiden continually says the wrong things to Virginia thanks to his awkwardness. Virginia keenly wants Aiden to accompany her to watch her friends do an amateur dramatics play, but Aiden is completely bored. He thinks he’s imagining himself shout loudly “who cares!” when in actual fact he’s just said it for real.
The third act is about Aiden trying to save his relationship with Virginia after his embarrassing outburst, but Aiden has an uncanny knack of screwing things up where Virginia is concerned. Crave is an extremely violent film with some things I’ve definitely never seen done so realistically before, like when he smashes a man over the head with a huge mallet. The first two acts are easily the best and the last was somewhat of a disappointment.
The performances were first-rate and I felt sympathetic towards Aiden’s plight but lost a lot of that because of the way the final act was written and executed. If the rest of Crave hadn’t been as good, I don’t think I would’ve found myself being as forgivable for the ending but it was, overall, a good film.