FRIED BARRY *** South Africa 2020 Dir: Ryan Kruger. 96 mins
Waking one morning after a bender, Barry (Gary Green) is quite alarmed at the notion that he can’t remember the night before which his family assumes is nothing out of the ordinary. Still, being plagued by bad dreams and the insistence that something has happened to him soon manifests with the idea that he’s become infected with an alien parasite trying to understand the human and tries to go about understanding the people around him. The more he’s around others, the more he finds his alien-infused powers have a benefit to others but also manages to put his wife Suz (Chanelle de Jager) at risk of discovering the deadly secret inside him.
For the most part, “Fried Barry” was a rather enjoyable effort. Rather than going for a prototypical alien-on-Earth story, director Ryan Kruger opts for a strong arthouse aesthetic that’s immensely pleasing, from the abduction sequence to the presentation of the world around him as he just goes about his business. This is all presented with a charmingly quirky tone about his fish-out-of-water presence to give a wholly impressive feel and look to the film, making some of the wackier ideas and concepts presented feel quite a bit more plausible than expected. It just feels somewhat random and chaotic in the second-half onward, jumping around from random encounter to random encounter with no coherent throughput or logic, dragging this out unnecessarily and ruining the pacing slightly trying to figure out what’s going on. Still, this one works far more often than it doesn’t.
Review by Don Anelli