ENIGMA ACE FILMS (2020)
Director: Ryan Kruger
Starring: Gary Green, Chanelle De Jager, Bianka Hartenstein, Sean Cameron Michael
Fantasia Festival 2020 Selection
Fried Barry – A Ryan Kruger Thing. That’s how we’re introduced into the wild world of Fried Barry and it’s hard to disagree with Kruger’s assessment. Set in Cape Town, South Africa, this is a movie (or a thing) that will have you exclaiming “WTF?” wide-eyed to the screen multiple times as the bizarre story throws more and more insanity at you with each passing act. Barry himself, played intensely by Gary Green, is a wreck – he’s a bad husband and father, a drug addict and on a fast decline to doom – and to make things worse, he’s picked up by aliens who inhabit his body for a wild ride around Cape Town. What could aliens surely want to discover via Barry?
Well, they sure take him for a ride. Dust ups, hook ups and human trafficking are just some of the things Barry’s extraterrestrial invaders are privy to but along the way shoots of hope and positivity are also found. They’re still found in the oddest places but at least there’s some good to be found. Ryan Kruger’s background lies in experimental shorts and metal music videos, so Fried Barry was never going to be conventional and it never threatens to be. Kruger takes us on a visually mad trip that delves into the human psyche, mental illness, the frazzled mind of a drug addict and how society views all of these and, whilst doing so, doesn’t hold back. Fried Barry is not for the faint-hearted and certainly won’t be for everyone. It’s packed full of graphic nudity, sex scenes and violence that dares the viewer to not look away – the problem is a lot of these scenes seem to be included because, well...they can be. They simply offer shock value rather than any actual value which, whilst uncomfortable to watch and hard to forget, doesn’t lend to a compelling watch. The grimy and depraved nature of the movie really needs a compelling story or lead and whilst Gary Green certainly throws everything into the role of Barry, there’s little to really cling to or enjoy which is a shame as the movie is well shot and competently presented – the alien scenes burst with colour and vibrancy, there’s some decent comedic moments relating to Barry’s adventures and the narrative moves at a steady pace. Clearly, Kruger isn’t aiming to deliver a happy-go-lucky waltz around the darker side of Cape Town but there’s an undeniably grubby feeling to every scene that makes it hard to get invested into any of the characters.
Fried Barry is a conundrum of a movie. As mentioned, it’s well crafted by Kruger and crew but it just isn’t an enjoyable watch. Some people will love this as evidenced in the festival accolades it has racked up but it’s a tough and gruelling watch. It’s more of an experience than anything else but sadly it wasn’t an enjoyable one.
August 13th 2020