Movie Review: Crazy Eyes
Rating: Not Rated
Length: 95 minutes
Release Date: March 11, 2012
Directed by: Adam Sherman
Stars: 2 out of 5
"Crazy Eyes" tells the story of an entitled man who encounters a woman who is out of his reach. Starring Lukas Haas, Madeline Zima and Jake Busey, the film is a cynical and understated look at wealth, alcoholism and the power of love. Although it is subdued in nature, "Crazy Eyes" has no shortage of wit and entertainment value.
The storyline in "Crazy Eyes" centers on Zach (Lukas Haas). He is a rich man who is bored with his entitled life. Zach has no trouble getting the things he wants, from material goods to women, even when they are otherwise attached. He doesn't need to work, and he doesn't care to put forth any effort, particularly where his ex-wife and child are concerned. At a relatively young age, Zach has given up on living an active, engaged life.
Zach spends most of his evenings at a bar, where his friend Dan (Jake Busey) serves drinks. While Dan works behind the bar, he helps Zach in his various schemes, from picking up married women to taking care of their angry partners. One evening at the bar, Zach finds the only thing he can't have in his over-privileged life: Rebecca (played by Madeline Zima). Rebecca is a fellow alcoholic who encourages Zach's attention. She refuses to give herself over entirely to his charms, however, and he is intrigued by the challenge. Zach dubs her "Crazy Eyes" and develops an obsession with her. As the rest of the parts of his life fade away, like the relationships with his parents and son, he is focused solely on Rebecca. The main plot device shows the two in repeated failed attempts to see a Hieronymus Bosch exhibit.
"Crazy Eyes" is, at heart, a story of self-destruction. The mood of the film is bleak, and the audience is likely to despair at the inevitable path that Zach is doomed to take. Writers Adam Sherman (who also directed the movie) and Dave Reeves have written the central character with little hope of redemption. He shows no gratitude for the blessings in his life. On paper, he is unlikable.
And yet, Haas' considerable acting talents turn the character of Zach into a likeable role that gives "Crazy Eyes" a touch of humanity. He has an innate sweetness that is obvious throughout the film. As a result, audiences are likely to sympathize with him and, hopefully, care about his fate.
Madeline Zima's portrayal of Rebecca seems like no more than a grown-up version of her character in the television show "Californication." Rebecca acts out in response to her emotional problems, resulting in harmful consequences. Zima plays the part admirably, embracing the many emotional extremes that are required. She displays a constant energy that is the ideal counterpart to Haas' calm bearing. Although Rebecca's antics are confusing at times, the relationship between the two lead characters is riveting.
Director Adam Sherman, who previously directed "Happiness Runs," has billed "Crazy Eyes" as an autobiographical movie. The film is a memorable second project for Sherman, and its bleak tone says a great deal about his take on the world. He displays considerable skills throughout the movie. The coloring accurately communicates the emotions of the characters, while the close-up shots capture the sense of hopelessness they feel. Sherman has the unique ability to create films that are undeniably real. So real, in fact, that they make audiences squirm with the bleakness of reality.
The supporting cast members give strong performances, often overshadowing the power of the two main actors. Jake Busey shines as Dan, the wisecracking bartender. The son of Gary Busey, he seems to have inherited his father's comedic abilities. Dan plays a sort of "God" role-always observant and occasionally intervening. His one-liners and subtle facial expressions provide a great deal of comic relief for "Crazy Eyes," which is a welcome distraction from the gravity of the rest of the film.
Overall, "Crazy Eyes" is an entertaining and emotional look at two people who have given up on finding love and hope. It follows the destruction that is created by alcohol and excessive wealth, showing that money does not bring happiness. As audiences watch Zach's descent, they may find themselves rooting for the characters to succeed despite the impossible. The movie is not suitable for children, but adults will enjoy the antics of the characters and the regular comedic moments that pepper the script.