Fried Barry (2020) [Fantasia Festival 2020]

A man with tendencies for self-destruction and abuse gets abducted and possessed by an alien entity who uses him to discover the best and worst of the human condition and get to enjoy what Barry may or may not have loved while he’s in his skin.

Written and directed by Ryan Kruger, Fried Barry is an experience in excess with varying degrees of success. The film is interesting no matter what, but after a while, all the excess that Barry’s Alien gets up to while possessing his body becomes almost routine in that it’s case after case of “what now” which eventually gets a bit less interesting with each new item of this excess. While this may have worked magically well in short form, this longer form does fell like it may be going around, not quite but something like, in circles. The evolution of this alien inside of Barry feels mostly unsatisfying and that is really a case of it being too bad as the idea has a ton of potential, but it just didn’t have enough steam for a feature film it felt like. The film is not bad, but it’s not quite good either. It’s just kind of there with the story and ideas being basically good, but something feels like it’s either missing or not quite right. It leads the film to feel like almost repetitive by the end of things as there isn’t enough evolution in what is going on. Yes, the excesses change and evolve, but for a while, it’s unclear if there is a point to it all. While this point is there, it simply doesn’t feel satisfying for the story and its characters.

The lead and the man in almost every single scene of the film is actor Gary Green who, evidently, plays Barry. He does do really good work as he goes for broke and just acts the heck out of every scene he’s given. There is nothing this actor is scared of and it shows, he gives his all and does the best he can with every single scene. It gets him and the film a result that are spectacular. It can come off as a bit much at times, but as a man possessed by an alien, this can work most of the time. The whole film is basically for Green to show his capacity as an actor and he does so very well throughout the film. Of course, there are a bundle of other people involved in the film, but of them come and go pretty quickly and don’t leave as big of an impression as Green does.

The style of the film, how it’s shot and edited is something done with cinematography by Gareth Place and editor Stephen Du Plessis and it comes off rather frenetic for most of the film, something that works with the story and the acting. The visuals here are interesting, but may annoy some after a while. Once used to them, they make the film fly by even when the story is not quite working the way it would have been hoped for.

Fried Barry is a frenetic visit inside the psyche of a man who will try anything to get an effect on himself and who ends up possessed by an alien. The film feels a bit without focus, something that works for some of it and not for other parts. The lead gives a good performance and the visuals work for the idea presented, elevating it even a bit. It’s film that is fast paced but seems to lost interest at times because it’s all about excess with not much respite.

The Fantasia International Film Festival runs every year, and this year runs virtually from August 20th until September 2nd.