The Crab (2010)

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This is the story of Levi, an angry young man afflicted with ectrodactyly (claw hands syndrome). With a sharp intellect, a fine helping of self-loathing and a way of sucking the happiness from everyone around him, Levi often finds that the best way for him to treat himself is by getting as drunk as possible and spoiling for fights with strangers. Will he ever change? In between bouts of insulting his poor girlfriend, Courtney, and patronising his best friend, Lucas, there seems to be a ray of sunshine in the form of Jane. But Jane is Lucas’s girlfriend. The fact that she is smart, has her own disability to deal with and isn’t easily shocked makes her all the more appealing when she shouldn’t be. A nice guy wouldn’t pursue the matter but Levi is not a nice guy.

Written and directed by Rona Mark, The Crab is quite an impressive piece of work. Often transcending it’s relatively meagre budget thanks to the occasional moments of style and the consistently sharp script, things kick off with a quote from “Frankenstein” before moving on to show a man worn down and demoralised more by his own perception of himself than by the society around him. The fact that he’s often absolutely correct about the way others view him is another problem. Would Levi actually be happier if he wasn’t so damn sharp?

The performances are all pretty good. Jonathan Wilde is okay as Lucas, the long-suffering friend but Kelly Dwyer, as Courtney, and Cass Buggé, as the object of Levi’s new sense of affection, are both pretty excellent. However, the star turn is most definitely from Guy Whitney, in the central role. His acerbic, mean, funny, unflinching portrayal of the pained Levi lashing out at the world before it gets anywhere near him is quite a brilliant one. Whether he’s deconstructing the people he meets, peeing in the bath or drunkenly finding out the various prices of candy bars, he’s doing a brilliant job keeping us alongside a highly despicable character who somehow remains charismatic and fascinating to watch.

With a healthy dose of dark cynicism throughout and a blend of surrealism and painfully real moments, The Crab certainly stands out from the crowd and is well worth seeking out if you get the chance. It’s a twisted, difficult journey at times but it’s also searingly brilliant for a lot of its runtime.

DIRECTOR: RONA MARK
STARS: GUY WHITNEY, KELLY DWYER, CASSE BUGGE, JONATHAN WILDE
RUNTIME: 108 MINS APPROX
COUNTRY: USA

Film Rating: ★★★★☆

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