Sunday, 20 June 2010

The Crab - EIFF - Filmhouse - 20/6/10

Rona Mark brought us the weird and wonderful world of "Strange Girls" the last time she attended the EIFF.

This time around she has delivered another weird but even more wonderful film.

Levi (a brilliant Guy Whitney) has a genetic condition (ectrodactyl) which has left him with hands that, in days past, would have seen him labelled as "lobster boy" in a freak show. Levi has settled on the label "The Crab" because, as he puts it; "I prefer pubic hair". This sort of crude aside is Levis stock in trade...he is possessed of an intellect that would put most of us to shame but after his stubborn insistence at university not to include citations in his thesis on poetry he is left without a degree and without a publishable manuscript.

Washed up and bitter Levi spends his days drinking, drinking, smoking and being bitter and twisted. The person who bares the brunt of most of his vitriol is his girlfriend Courtney (Kelley Dwyer) who loves him in a way that simply leaves Levi angry. The real object of Levis own particular brand of "love" is his best friends girl, Jane. As Levi moves from crush, to infatuation and then onto full blown obsession things move from ugly to horrific.

Rona Mark clearly wants to create films that do more than simply treat your eyes for ninety minutes. This is an intelligent and provocative film. Their are moments of dark comedy, high drama and emotional trauma and all delivered with a style all of her own. She is to be lauded for being brave enough to make a film like this.

Guy Whitney is terrific here, he is waspish, intelligent and darkly brutal throughout. His character is a tortured genius and the performance itself is genius. Alongside Vanessa Smith in "Chase The Slut" this could well be the performance of the festival.

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