Director: Adam Sherman
Writers: Adam Sherman, Dave Reeves, Rachel Hardisty
Stars: Lukas Haas, Madeline Zima and Jake Busey
Of all the films screening at SXSW this year ‘Crazy Eyes’ was one of the first to get cut from my schedule. At first glance it was easy to assume I’d seen too many of these types of films before. You know the type: guy can get any girl he wants but wants the one he can’t have. Still, at the last minute I decided to take a risk and catch the premiere screening. As soon as the credits rolled I knew I had found my festival favorite.
Synopsis: Zach, a wealthy, alcoholic divorcee and father, is torn between his past love and present infatuation. His obsession for Rebecca, who he affectionately calls Crazy Eyes, seems to be driving him to the brink of madness and pushing his alcoholism to dangerous extremes.
Zach (Lucas Haas) is a guy with too much money and too little motivation. He spends most of his nights binge drinking in bars and living a hard-partying lifestyle in Los Angeles with his friend and favorite bartender Dan (Jake Busey). He seduces most women with little effort but stubbornly focuses his attention on Rebecca (Madeline Zima), the only woman who rejects him — even though she parties with him nightly. This isn’t a love story by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, the driving force behind the entire film isn’t whether or not he’ll get the girl it’s whether or not he’ll get the girl in bed. His life has become nothing more than a routine of drinking and hangovers that leaves little room for any responsibilities including his 5 year old son. But when his own father suffers a stroke he starts to appreciate the time he spends with his son and finds the balance his life has been missing all along.
It’s actually a pretty simple story but what intrigued me most about ‘Crazy Eyes’ was the filmmakers unflinching direction. The pacing reflects the fast lifestyle the film portrays but doesn’t rely on shaky cams or gimmicky cinematography and instead draws its strength from abrupt storytelling. And unlike many films you may come across at a festival, the occasional soft shots fit perfectly within the boundaries of the narrative and don’t come off as pretentious.
In the end, whether a filmmaker chooses to take risks or wrap the story up faithfully and slap a bow on it is what shapes the final impression of a film. With ‘Crazy Eyes’ we get a clean, albeit unsurprising ending that stays true to the story and doesn’t insult the audience.
Director Adam Sherman has crafted an impressive piece of filmmaking that paints an accurate portrayal of a world many people live in. As I said before it’s not for the easily offended, and in order to truly appreciate the film it may be necessary to check your world at the door.
Writer/Director Adam Sherman previously directed “Happiness Runs” and “Dead Doll” as well as produced the film, “Wristcutters: A Love Story”.
‘Crazy Eyes’ will be released this summer by Strand Releasing.