Writer/director Ian Stewart Fowler's Crazy Right isn't exactly an "entertaining" film to watch, though the same thing could be said for any number of Hollywood releases including more than a few that are aiming for nothing but entertainment. The film centers around Paul (Patrick D. Green), a recent widow lost in the throes of a complicated grief that have led him down an intensified gravel road of alcoholism and agoraphobia. Left alone inside his home trying to piece together the details surrounding his wife's demise, Paul surrenders himself to a Walkman and a stack of cassettes that may hold the truth or they may simply hold the fractured thoughts of his disintegrating mind.
There's a quiet desperation mixed with an even stronger sense of resignation that permeates every cell of Crazy Right, a film possesses a nice, slow emotional burn that never reveals more than it has to and yet always compels you to keep hanging in there with it. It helps that lead Patrick D. Green is strong here, something along the lines of an emotionally worn out John Corbett with something, that intangible spark that doesn't really have a word, that makes you want to believe in him even when he doesn't quite believe in himself. Lindsae Klein is a perfect companion in the film, a richly human and fully realized character whose presence is at the foundation of nearly every emotion that comes alive in Crazy Right.
There's no denying that Crazy Right isn't quite for everyone. For those who only embrace escapist cinema, Crazy Right may prove to be an emotional journey not quite worth taking. For those who appreciate quality indie cinema, however, Crazy Right will likely prove to be a rewarding view.
Crazy Right picked up the Best Feature Film prize at Festival Angaelica in 2017, while also picking up a Best Editing prize at Covellite International Film Festival (Editor's Note: Can we fix the laurels, please?) and was also an official selection of the 44th Northwest Filmmakers' Festival. Indeed, Crazy Right seems tailor made for the indie festival circuit as one of those little gems you love to discover at your local film fest.
There's a stark, almost barren intimacy to Crazy Right that may prove a bit jarring to more casual moviegoers. Patrick D. Green immerses himself in Paul's ravaging grief, while lovemaking scenes feature the kind of intimacy, including full male/female nudity, rarely captured on the big screen. While this could be a gimmick, it's not. Instead, it's a necessary reveal of the everyday realities of relationship and it helps to explain, if you're paying attention, bits and pieces of Paul's grief journey and its layers of complication.
Fowler's editing of the film is, indeed, top notch as he handles the difficult task of balancing the film between past and present without, at least for the most part, too much distraction. While the film's sound is occasionally, as is frequently the case, the big giveaway that this is a low budget production, for the most part you'll be so involved in the story that you won't be distracted by the occasional echoes that came with shooting the film largely in Fowler's own home in Portland, Oregon.
Nathan Coltrane's lensing is strong throughout Crazy Right, never flinching during the film's more emotionally intense scenes yet equally embracing the film's sense of emotional and physical intimacy. Shot largely with a sort of muted tone that varies in color according to the film's atmospheric needs, Crazy Right immerses you, and occasionally submerges you, in Paul's world view.
Continuing on its indie festival run, Crazy Right is definitely worth your time if you get a chance to check it out. Fowler's storytelling and impressive performances by co-leads Green and Klein add up to a deep, meaningful film that lingers in your mind long after the closing credits.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic