Directed by Trey Edward Shults
The caustically bitter, micro-budget feature “Krisha” is a serious candidate to the best drama of the year.
Cleverly engendered by Trey Edward Shults, who also plays himself in the film, this genuinely disturbing story is 100% fictional but feels immensely realistic, and the reasons for that can be easily explained.
In order to enhance intimacy among the actors, the writer/filmmaker hired some close relatives but swapped their roles within the fictitious family. Thus, his real mother, Robyn Fairchild, played his aunt in the film, while his real aunt, Krisha Fairchild, became an unexpected star as she plays his frustrated mother who attempts to reconnect with her estranged son while recovering from drug and alcohol addiction. Opposing to these two cases, we have his grandmother who plays her real self.
The motivation for the story was Shults’ own father who passed away due to complications related to severe addiction.
The story begins with the visibly excited Krisha (Krisha Fairchild), who seems to be making an effort to control herself emotionally, searching for her sister’s house where all the family is about to reunite for the Thanksgiving. After her arrival, we immediately have the perception that something’s wrong since everybody, with exception of her sister, looks at her with some sort of fear.
This is the first time in ten years that Krisha has contact with her son, Trey, who had to be raised by Robyn and her sarcastic husband, Doyle (Bill Wise).
Trey, who left his dream of becoming a filmmaker to go to business school, is still mad at Krisha and reacts indifferently to her approaches while she tries to pass the false idea of being fully recovered and in peace with herself. In truth, she struggles all the time to maintain a proper posture due to an excessive consumption of drugs while concealing her most inner frustrations and lack of confidence.
This state of imminent breakdown is wondrously depicted through a well-crafted camerawork (recurrently alluding to the confusion lived in Krisha’s mind), and the addition of odd sounds and noises that intensify the sense of disorientation and chaos.
Eventually, Krisha ends up unveiling all her self-destructiveness toward an agonizing finale that won’t leave you unfeeling.
I dare to say that Mr. Shults, who resorted to earnest close-ups in order to better define sentiments, is the modern image of John Cassavettes, just as his aunt Krisha is the modern image of Gena Rowlands.
Everything was planned and mounted in accordance to the smallest detail, and while the dialogues are double-edged, the performances are absolutely flawless.
With a hefty discharge of madness enveloping the plausible scenarios, the emotionally biting “Krisha” can be as darkly funny as genuinely disturbing.
It is, in fact, a superior drama.