Krisha is like those crappy home videos you’re dad made when he was younger, except it’s actually good. And interesting. And beautiful. Filmed over nine days by filmmaker trey Edward Shults and starring his own family, Krisha is an emotionally intense and hypnotic drama about family dynamics and alcoholism.
At only 80 minutes, its only limitation is that the film ultimately feels slight, a worthy and rewarding experiment but an experiment nonetheless.
Krisha Fairchild–Shults’ aunt–stars as the title character, a drug-and-alcohol-addicted grandma whose momentary sobriety is put to the test over Thanksgiving dinner. Her past actions are only hinted at, but her relationship with her family is strained, the dynamic a vicious cycle in which fear of what she’s capable of leads to the very thing her family members want to avoid.
Fairchild is downright stellar, though the real star of the show, the element that makes the movie so powerful and memorable, is the unholy union of cinematography and music. As the camera shifts between, hovers around and pierces into the various family members, the score throbs, pulses and squeals like something out of a Hitchcock movie. It’s a wonderful experience.
Still, with most of the characters kept at arm’s length and little in the way of character arc, Krisha is merely a flash in the pan, a snapshot of one miserable Thanksgiving dinner. As enthralling as its 80-minute runtime is, one could argue it’s style over substance–or simply that there isn’t a lot to bite into when all is said and done.
Nonetheless, Krisha is a mesmerizing little film, a refreshing indie that deserves praise.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.