Life can get pretty crazy when you’re a drug addict. Barry is many things when we first meet him. He is abusive, resents his home life, neglects his wife and child, and beats people up on the street to feed his addiction. He keeps company with people like Jono, an admitted racist, who is into equally terrible dealings. So what happens when Barry is abducted by aliens and returns to Earth with an extraterrestrial being living inside him? The results are pretty surprising in Ryan Kruger’s insane South African 2020 film Fried Barry. Screening at the Fantasia Film Fest, Fried Barry tells a remarkable tale as witnessed through the eyes of an outsider.
Gary Green plays Barry, a violent drug addict who berates his wife, threatens people, and is an absentee father. Barry’s off kilter lifestyle gets a major shake up when he’s abducted by aliens one night. The change in Barry is evident as he returns to Earth with another being inside of him. Green’s acting is masterful. Ranging from derangement to innocence, Green’s portrayal is wonderful. He gives a hilarious yet heartfelt performance in a film where madness is the backdrop.
The madness is heightened by Ryan Kruger’s writing and directing. It’s a flurry of color and metal. Some of the scenes where Barry is shown shooting up are quick cuts, reminiscent of modern horror while other scenes are shooting bright lights with a retro flair. The horror inspired cuts during the drug scenes tap into the deeper themes of the film. What kind of man is Barry when he is on drugs? What kind of man is he when he’s not? The narrative structure is also interesting. It is set up as a story within a story complete with a viewer discretion and intermission. This device adds a charm to the film, adding a tinge of fairy tale and folklore to the story.
Fried Barry is a story about addiction and redemption. While it’s thrilling and moves at a rapid pace, at its core, Fried Barry is a story of love, loyalty, and acceptance.