FRIED Poster

Fried (2023) Review

Structured as four episodes of varying lengths, Fried is a thirty-four-minute look int the grim and growing grimmer lives of roommates Robert (Richard Goss, Night of the Living Dead: Resurrection, Wrath of the Titans) and Dave (Jake McDaid, Brown Sugar, The Forgotten Children).

The pair are trapped in dead end, minimum wage jobs, a call centre employee and waiter respectively, and barely managing to keep their heads above water while trying to survive in London. Their frustrations are amplified by, in Robert’s case, an overbearing supervisor (Marcus Massey, Bunny the Killer Thing, Three Blind Mice) and in Dave’s by his incompetent therapist (Clifford Hume, Poison Arrows, Lost and Spaced).

Stuck on this treadmill with no relief in sight, their lives are characterized by struggle and frustration. They seem to spend any spare time they have on their couch drinking beer, watching television, discussing how they managed to end up in this situation.

FRIED 1

That’s something that many viewers can, to one degree or another, relate to in a world where rising prices and stagnant wages have become the norm. It’s certainly something that Goss, who raised Fried’s £2,500, about $3,150, budget working as a bartender and used the room he lived in as a set, knows about. And he conveys it well, making what could be rather dull and whiny exchanges between the roommates much more interesting than one might expect.

“I wanted to make something for myself, drawing upon my own journey, as both a cathartic and entertaining experience. I wanted to make something I haven’t seen in a long time – dark, grim and with a sick sense of humour. These type of scripts aren’t made very much anymore. Films such as WITHNAIL & I, FILTH, TRAINSPOTTING, etc. The British film industry is obsessed with upper class, period dramas or awful gangster films.”

Richard Goss, ceator and star of Fried

Where Fried steps away from the experiences of most people in this situation is how it affects them. Instead of a drinking problem and depression, it fuels Robert’s anger and rage and combined with his manipulation of the depressed Dave, their situation devolves into violence and bloodshed.

FRIED 3

While Fried starts as a dark, as in pitch black, comedy laced drama, Fried segues into a thriller in its final two episodes. Goss and co-director Jessica Crooks (One Bad Day, Narcissists) handle the transition well. It’s also interesting how they adapt the film’s mostly two persons, one setting framework to the plot’s change of direction. Cinematographer Zak Fenning (Home Care, Pinched) deserves credit for helping visualize the character’s change of mental state from seemingly impotent rage and depression to violent madness.

And even as the plot shifts, Goss keeps it relatable, at least to a degree. While most people never actually do it, most of us have had the occasional stray thought about killing, or at least giving a good beating to, the people who are responsible for our problems. And on that level, it’s hard not to feel at least some sympathy for them, especially Dave after he’s nearly electrocuted in a workplace accident.

FRIED 9

Part social drama, part thriller, Fried has a solid and absorbing story to tell. Goss and his small crew do a great job of getting their points across without losing sight of the film’s human element and becoming preachy. And, at thirty-four minutes, it’s just the right length for the story. This was made as a showcase for the group’s talents, and it more than succeeds.

Fried is currently playing festivals to considerable acclaim. You can keep up with it and any announcements of its general release via its Instagram feed.

YouTube video
Our Score
Scroll to Top