SXSW Review: CRAZY EYES

By Laurie Coker              B-

 

The SXSW website description of Crazy Eyes, directed and co-written by Adam Sherman (and loosely based on Sherman’s life), intrigued me. Its dark premise promised an underlying romance, but what I could know was exactly how dark the film would be. While I truly believe that the film is well-directed, wonderfully acted, and decently filmed, it depressed me to no end, and as a parent (and grandparent), I wanted to take the characters and shake some sense into them. When I met him in a short interview with Sherman, who has a subtle wit about him, I understood star Lucas Haas’ character a bit better and it made me feel like giving him a little shake and I told him so. Sherman, who spoke quite softly, seemed to take it all in stride.

Haas plays Zach, a wealthy thirty-something man, who sets his sights on Rebecca (Californication’s Madeline Zima), who claims to have a boyfriend, but still engages in some pretty wild partying with Zach. Eventually, the binge drinking and long nights prevail and Zach and Rebecca end up sleeping together. The one thing besides alcohol abuse that brings the pair together is the promise of a trip to an art exhibit. I won’t say whether or not they every make it to the exhibition or not, but it is a key element in the story like.

As noted, the performances are first rate and Jake Busey take a good turn as Zach’s best friends, but the characters are so dark and definitely on a downward spiral, that I found it difficult to focus. I got angry at a young man who has money to burn and who falls into a destructive relationship and does little to save or redeem himself. I wanted to stop watch the train wreck that was their lives, but the mesmerizing characters drew me in and shook me to near depression. I think Sherman does a remarkable job bring his tale to the screen and any film worth talking about is one that makes its audience feel. This one does and for me the feeling are anger and sadness.

I can’t say I recommend this R-rated film to my friends or my parents, but it is a quality depiction of dysfunctional relationships and some extremely unstable people. I know there are those who enjoy this sort of dark romance, but I am not a fan, but still, I must give credit where it is due and this film does well at what it sets out to do. I am placing a B- in my grade book, but I want Sherman, if this is still his life, to get a grip and find better ways (like more films) to spend his time and money.

 

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