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average rating is 4 out of 5


Patrick Foley


Posted on:

Nov 24, 2023

Film Reviews
Directed by:
Jessica Crooks
Written by:
Richard Goss
Richard Goss, Jake McDaid, Marcus Massey

Credit to the filmmakers behind Fried, it takes some impressive writing to make a film where half of the screentime is taken up by two drunk 30-somethings sitting on the couch lamenting on how terrible their lives are pretty damn engaging.


The film is segmented into four chapters, tracking the descent of roommates Robert (Richard Goss) and David (Jake McDaid) from depressed nihilism into rage-fuelled madness as they deal with the miserable reality their lives have become. Stuck in dead-end jobs where overbearing managers delight in making their lives a misery, the pair feed off of each other’s frustration until unthinkable acts of rage become reasonable paths out of their circumstance – fuelled by excess amounts of alcohol. Robert’s manipulation of Dave becomes increasingly sinister – and the pair cross a line which puts them in a desperate situation.


Fried explores a darkness in modern life that leaves all but the super-rich in a rat race for the next paycheque, unable to escape dead-end jobs or depressive monotony. Robert and Dave’s everyday existence is a struggle, and most of their time is spent exhausted on their couch contemplating just how their lives came to this given that they survive with barely enough to get by. It’s a sadly relevant experience for many during the cost-of-living crisis – especially for those living in London. The film never really establishes a timeframe over which the film is set, which means quite effectively unsettles the audience and reinforces a sense that the lives Robert and Dave live are stuck in the same place and in an unending loop.


The eventual extreme steps the pair take bring the film into American Psycho territory, where capitalist excess is convincingly used to demonstrate that the inherent lessons of how society is constructed are enough to drive people crazy. Robert and Dave are losers – treated with barely hidden contempt by colleagues and customers, who end up worse off for their efforts to improve their lives. They can hardly be described as likable, but there is a truth in their frustrations – even Robert’s furious rants. The film’s exploration of mental illness adds further depth, and shows how society’s habit of looking for increasingly ineffective solutions is flawed as opposed to treating root causes.


Jake McDaid captures the vulnerability and insecurity of Dave remarkably. Dave is manipulated by Robert’s unhinged rants and sinister ideas – though not above allowing his own anger to motivate his own thoughts. Dave could easily have been an unsympathetic figure, but McDaid’s ability to portray his life as out of control means the film’s depressing but complicated message of a world which causes figures like Dave to do terrible things comes through loud and clear. Richard Goss’ performance is more extravagant and overstated, but the character dynamic that is revealed between the two means this styling is vindicated.


Fried has a dark and cynical heart. But the twists and turns of this short story and what it has to say about life during difficult times is a wickedly enjoyable-yet-brutal tale. Audiences probably ought not to take the same lesson Robert and Dave do, but the message of the filmmakers is an important one.

About the Film Critic
Patrick Foley
Patrick Foley
Digital / DVD Release, Short Film, Web Series
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