Friday, May 14, 2021

Fried Barry

Fried Barry
Ryan Kruger

Fried Barry does not have much of a plot. Much like Barry himself it lurches from moment to moment seemingly without reason, only to have previous experiences slowly build and connect into a story. This is not without purpose. The film is here to put us in the mindset of an alien and an alien often on drugs to boot. A loose story like that with an unreliable and not entirely human narrator could easily fall into chaos, but Fried Barry is guided by a surprising core of kindness underneath all the flash and bodily fluids.

Barry (Gary Green) is a heroin addicted mess of a human being. When he’s not shooting up, he’s yelling at his wife or looking for somewhere to shoot up. Luckily for everyone, Barry is abducted and probed by aliens, who decide to take his body for a ride. This new and improved Barry is silent, somehow irresistibly attractive to women, and unendingly sweet in his own distant way. Barry crosses paths with gangsters, lonely women, drug dealers, and even a child abductor, all without having a clue about what he’s really doing. In that respect Barry is more human than we expect.

Our hero.

Fried Barry is an assault on the senses moving from the run down and dingy confines of a heron den, to the flashing lights and heavy bass of an alien space craft, the film tonally and visually changes at any given moment. For a film about heavy drug use, featuring puking, a giant boner, and a chainsaw fight, Fried Barry is often silly and occasionally even charming. Among the grime of the city there are flashes of brilliant neon and strobing lights. The entire alien abduction sequence is slick looking and gorgeous, a reminder that every moment of this film is considered and crafted to a fine point.

The score of Fried Barry by composer and performer Haezer is as much of a character as Barry himself. Like the narrative, it shifts from subtle tonal ambience to heavy techno beats. Like the imagery, the score is masterful in the way it controls the energy from scene to scene only to explode in a frenzy of noise. With a lesser score this film would be no where nearly as dynamic.

Laser hair removal really stings.

The most shocking thing about Fried Barry at how sweet it is at the core. The opening scenes prepared me for something dour and a little mean. Barry is not a good person, the people he associates are not good people, and the place he exists is unpleasant. Post abduction, Barry is a blank slate. He spends most of his time gawping at things and wandering around, but when he acts, it is to try and help someone or make things around him a little better.  The being inhabiting Barry is alien and unknowable except for the fact that it is kind. 

In the end a heroin addicted alien sex fiend is the most human character of all. I love it. An amazing film and film and one of my favorites of 2021.

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