In the 70's tough guys often came in the form of cops fed up with the system like Clint Eastwood's "Dirty Harry" or Charles Bronson in "Death Wish, but the 90's brought us an anti-hero of the Pearl Jam generation in "Falling Down," a movie that spoke to the average guy sick and tired of being well...sick and tired. Fast forward to today and there's Aiden (Josh Lawson) who resembles more Ed Norton than Michael Douglas. He's a crime scene investigator, a job that isn't nearly as intriguing as the cameos on the Law & Order shows, but seems destined to make any man creepy.
And creepy he is.
When he's not coldly taking pics of dead bodies and the graphic aftermath of violence, he's fantasizing about doling out his own brand of justice. He constantly daydreams about it, all with a running narrative soundtrack to his feats of vigilantism. The problem is that's all he does is daydream and narrate. One fantasy miraculously comes true when he manages to bed his upstairs neighbor Virginia (Emma Lung). Eventually, his narcissistic behavior drives her away causing him to finally (after over an hour and a half) turn into a hint of the Punisher/Dark Knight/Anti-hero that he had always wanted to be and by that time, you barely care.
In what is almost an homage to really expensive student films, director Charles de Lauzirika, best known for producing documentaries and DVD footage, is clearly a jack of all trades, but not a master of storytelling. He co-wrote "Crave" with Robert Lawton, but the results come across as two people trying to steer the same car. The film seems as uneven as it's protagonist as it can't decide whether to make it the story of a neurotic everyman or a powerless superhero. Narration, which is a great touch at first, becomes annoying the further you go into the movie only to discover there's no payoff. It wastes the talent of Lawson, Lung, and Ron Perlman, who plays his recovering detective friend. It's also a waste of fantastic cinematography as the limited budget is no hinderance to him replicating the mean streets of Chicago from his tiny apartment to his faux origin story that takes place on the subway. For all the film's faults, it's got enough style to keep you wanting for more.
"Crave" has a lot going for it, unfortunately it wastes all of it's good will by pulling a huge bait and switch on an audience that really, really wants to like it.
"Crave" MPAA: Rated R for violence, sexual situations, and brief nudity. Running time: 113 minutes. In limited release and on VOD