‘…worth seeking out if you crave the experience of hearing fresh voices…’

One of the promises of digital technology was that we’d all get the chance to tell the stories we wanted. No longer would you need to re-mortgage your house to clear your throat with a low-budget short or film, and creating pertinent, socially aware narratives wouldn’t be left to disinterested big studios and deep-pocketed broadcasters. Richard Goss’s Fried is a new breed of enterprise, self-funded for less than the price of a couple of grand, it’s a four part series made for streaming, with genuine virtues which make it worth a review.

Following in the traditions of Beckett and Pinter, Fried is a two–hander about a couple of guys, collapsed on their sofa somewhere in deepest, darkest, dismal London. They’re both fried, which is to say, burned out by modern life, and Fried examines their malaise as it ferments into animosity and violence; it’s an age old story of supervisor-fatigue and post-workplace angst, but told in a way that’s in tune with their misery, in a tital of 45 mins of Fight Club style.

Robert (Goss) and Dave (Jake McDaid) are the men between which we follow the ebb and flow of their ebb and flow; charting their decline is central to our observation of their rapport. ‘How do you eat an elephant?…one bite at a time’ is a helpful sliver of dialogue here; Fried is more patient than you might expect in the way it unpacks the two men’s unhappy predicament in granular detail. Each of them are in danger of slipping into some kind of place where reality and unreality mix in a dangerous cocktail, and it’s not long before we’re all on a trip to hell.

Cine-eastes will recall that Ben Wheatley took a similarly dank route which his debut feature Down Terrace, which was made on a humble five grand and propelled the writer/director to a high-profile career. It’s too early to tell if Goss will be able to find a similar trajectory, but Fried is worth seeking out if you crave the experience of hearing fresh voices, particularly at a time when British cinema is firmly stuck in WWII/royals/nostalgia/heritage mode.


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    • The schedule is fully loaded, so the strike affects tv more than film. Writers are generally underpaid and not particularly empowered to strike, and I’d support them. I don’t think the ‘creature’ AI has an original thought in its head, so I doubt that’ll be a factor. But cinema should be fine, there’s plenty in the pipeline, you’ll be relieved to hear.

  1. BTW it used to have other peoples movie reviews of the same movies you were doing in the “more on WordPress’ section under the comment thread in the reader, now youve got Marty’s BBQ Wilson North Carolina. (I’d be surprised if Marty was BBQing ketos!)

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  3. What does it say about Western Civilization that the “common” man chooses to tell a story like this? Makes me almost as sad as that author would write something like Lapvona….

    • I can’t comment on Lapvona due to a lack of specific information on that text, but I can confidently say that I have rarely felt as deep fried by life as I have in London and-or working in service industries. I don’t find it surprising that some film-making feels like a scream; modern life has a way of scrambling your brain.

      • I’m not saying that what the movie portrayed doesn’t happen, or isn’t valid, but why choose that to show instead of something that counters the experience? I guess I see the movie as a completely selfish shoutout of “here’s MY pain” instead of something that says “here’s some pain we all experience and here’s a way to blunt/counter/lessen it”.
        Even the “seeing the same pain as mine will somehow lessen it” theory doesn’t hold water. Adding lesser pain to a greater pain doesn’t make the greater pain less. It simply adds to it.

        • I hear you, and you argue that well. Audiences seems to self-select; some enjoy escapism, some enjoy pain, some enjoy both and some enjoy neither. But yes, in this case, I’d have been keen to see another act that put the story in a wider context, and offered some kind of remedy, however minor or symbolic it might be.

          I enjoy a fairly wide variety of films, and sometimes they do reflect how I see the world, and sometimes they don’t. I like a mix, but I get the impression that a large section of the audience like to escape. For me, there’s a recognition here about what it feels to be burnt out on the couch after a double shift, and that’s something that I think many people can relate to, even if only a fraction want to see that scenario on-screen.

          • And this conversation we’re having is exactly why I don’t believe something like world peace possible. (I realize this is a complete change of topic) If I can’t even understand people and their choice of entertainment, when we both speak the same language and have a similar cultural background, how in the world are people going to actually understand each other on serious issues? That’s a rhetorical question, just in case I wasn’t clear.
            I’m just in a contemplative mood at the moment. Coming down from all that caffeine you know…

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