Fantasia 2020: Fried Barry

A journey into chaos is a hell of a thing. You know it when you see it, and you definitely remember it once it’s all over. Fried Barry produces a feeling not too dissimilar, leaving you with the overwhelming realization that you just saw something new, at the bare minimum.

Based on the short film of the same name, Fried Barry follows the titular Barry as he escapes the responsibilities of his family and embarks on a grand journey of finding his next high. After a particularly strange experience, Barry is set loose into a sea of madness.

Fried Barry. Dir. Ryan Kruger.

The film plays like an assault on the senses, where overbearing colors pop along with abrasive, in-your-face filmmaking, marrying incredibly well with the pulse-pounding music thumping away in your ears. Fried Barry inundates you with wild images and sequences that speak not only to Barry’s own decline over the course of the film, but also to the decline of the world he is surrounded by.

You can practically feel the harshness of the world he inhabits as he shuffles from episodic event to episodic event, where he doesn’t chase the high: the high chases him. Barry is fed who knows what over and over, and when combined with the odd chance encounter he has at the beginning of the film, there’s almost like a chemical reaction where things only continue to go downhill for him.

If it’s not the sex, drugs, and alcohol, it’s the chaos of the situations Barry finds himself in. People float in and out of his life, almost as though they are ghosts. Or perhaps Barry is a ghost in theirs, the movie cleverly balancing the weird with the comedic as violence and life-changing events threaten to crush everyone under its direness.

Fried Barry. Dir. Ryan Kruger.

The film does have comedic undertones, but it’s of the kind where you’re a little uncertain about whether or not you should be concerned that you’re finding it funny.

It’s also surprising with its weirdness. While it does cut away during certain gory moments, some things remain very much on screen, and are arresting in their suddenness and shocking matter-of-fact display.

But where Fried Barry leaves its biggest impression is with its presentation. It’s a fascinating movie to watch, with the satirical rating classification that starts it all off, to the loving label of being a “Ryan Kruger Thing,” to the claustrophobic nature of so many characters staring you down as they speak, to even the neat intermission that separates the two halves of the film; Fried Barry is working overtime to create an atmosphere of pure carnage.

Fried Barry. Dir. Ryan Kruger.

Director Ryan Kruger definitely leaves an impression.

Cary Green makes for a disarming lead, his manic and troubled performance combining the extraordinarily weird with the silent pain that Barry carries with him. He has a fascinating face, and thankfully the movie takes full advantage of showing him off as much as possible as he faces the absurdity.

Fried Barry is a wildly inventive film that works great as a cult midnight release, but may prove a little slight for some. It’s absolutely style over substance, but for a film like this, that’s more than a worthwhile investment.


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