I like Crackerhead, but this latest experimental experience from filmmaker Mike Klassen is making me sweat – it’s a tough movie to review if you can’t crack through Klassen’s poker face. The film’s flippant facade has anarchy written all over it, but the drive behind Klassen’s directorial decisions and stylistic storytelling suggests a deeper, poignant project.
It’s a film that almost entirely takes place within a stuffy basement apartment, and it usually seems too crowded for the film’s four main leads – this is Marcus’ house. Marcus (played by Marcus Haccius) is reeling from a divorce and refuses to mingle with the outside world. Instead, he gawks at Jackass knock-off videos on YouTube and indulges in drugs with his dealer and only friend Mike (played by Klassen). While in his funk, other people stumble into Marcus’ life, including sympathetic fling Aubrey (Cassondra Padfield) and feisty partier Hollie (Emily Alatalo). Those character outlines may sound shallow, but Padfield and Alatalo evolve these roles with their quick-witted humour and intellect.
Crackerhead is a drug trip with the vernacular of a Judd Apatow movie. It’s an intimate work about learning how to interpret personal limbo, and how to confide in friendly strangers while in a state of vulnerability. However, it’s also a naughty film that goofs around in its hallucinatory haze to break up the tension with provocative topics and flashing. The narrative, which feels heavily improvisational, rolls with the punches while Klassen – and a collection of montages – makes you forget the linear nature of our existence.
Every beat in Crackerhead serves a purpose. It’s either giving you a contact high or knocking you on your ass.
Watch Mike Klassen’s exclusive NSFW director’s cut of Crackerhead here!
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie