EIFF Review for The Edinburgh Reporter
The Crab is not a film for 9am on a Sunday morning. Yet that is when the press screening occurred, so that is when I saw it.
The hero of the piece is Levi Taylor, a nihilistic academic who suffers from ectrodactyly or ‘Lobster Claw’ syndrome. Essentially his fingers are all joined together so his hands look a bit like claws. Near the start he explains,
“If I were in the circus, they’d call me lobster boy. Although I prefer to think of myself as a crab. I prefer pubic hair to fancy restaurants.”
This is a good signpost for what is to come, certainly in terms of dialogue. Levi is on a mission to be deliberately crass in an effort to upset people, so if you’re easily offended, I’d give this one a miss. If not, read on.
Our hero (Guy Whitney), is almost entirely unlikeable, although as his friend’s girlfriend Jane (Cass Bugge) points out “you’re kinda funny in a mean, drunk, nasty kind of way.” He mistreats his girlfriend, picks fights with strangers, takes too many drugs and refuses to do anything constructive with his life. But in a terribly witty and acerbic manner.
His search for validation leads to engaging encounters with a female-to-male transsexual known as Transman and a karaoke singing hooker, as well as staging a campaign to steal his best friend’s girlfriend. Clearly this is not your traditional rom-com, and his methods for finding love are a little bit weird.
The film lurches about in an unsettling way in order to convey Levi’s bi-polar tendencies, careening from moments of laugh out loud comedy to graphically depicting various sexual encounters imbued with an acute sense of misery. It can be hard to watch in places, but consistently compelling.
So, we have a main character who is utterly furious with the world, frank depictions of sex, drug use and disability, and plenty of off-colour humour. This probably isn’t the pick of the festival for your granny, but it’s definitely worth a watch.