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There's a joke that goes around in times of man-made surreality that states, if an alien being were to be present for a moment of absurdity or consume a particularly weird piece of media, then the ensuing experience would leave them scratching their proverbial heads. Despite the way modern societies streamline the human experience into a series of similar experiences, human beings are built for so much more hedonist mayhem. Fried Barry takes this conceit and fuses it together, setting forth to ask if an alien visitor could learn to love the human species if it spent a night among the more obsessively short-sighted of us.
Image from Fried Barry

Relentlessness: The film runs high on energy, growing new skin and shedding it multiple times in its 97 minutes, always looking for a path forward for the titular fried Barry. The man goes from crack dens to alien ships, nightclubs to hospitals, sex dens to warehouses, seemingly only walking in a straight line and falling unto the arms of countless jacked-up bystanders. Unfortunately, it's this same energy that clogs any type of emotional journey, and the film struggles to produce a reason for the viewer to care in the slightest for Barry's journey. Now, this is also a film that is eternally self-aware; it consistently pokes at the format of the film itself, as well as the viewer. It gives an old-school warning of adult content in the beginning and also throws in a short intermission in the middle, but it's all in pursuit of feeling. Fried Barry isn't a film to watch to get sucked into the character — quite the opposite, actually. If you're a lover of meaningless, maximalist sex, body horror, and nihilistic violence, then Fried Barry contains enough to satisfy.

Image from Fried Barry

Visuals Are Everything: The film keeps itself going only through the next zany scenario, or abrasive montage sequence, stringing enough of these scenes together to call it a film, but there's hardly a story going on underneath and, despite all the walking, a journey. Barry himself is rendered wide-eyed and mute for most of the duration, so the film relies mostly on other characters shouting at Barry to push the story along — if they aren't already throwing themselves all over him. It's a necessary thing to do in a film with a silent protagonist like this, but that just means Fried Barry is less apt to present a tightly written story than it is a collection of garish vignettes, weaving recurring characters in and out of them as it pleases. Not every film has to be an A to B to C journey then be easily understood, but there's little else going on under all the performative flair.

Image from Fried Barry

Fried Barry is a visual ride through the dank streets of Cape Town, but the lack of any real conflict for Barry, or other well-written characters to anchor this story leaves it stumbling around in the dark, cracking itself up in horrific ways to keep you from turning it off.

Watch Fried Barry now via Amazon or Apple TV

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Fried Barry
2.0Overall Score
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