23 Januar 2007

Running with Scissors - Krass.

Director Ryan Murphy, famous for bringing us the absurd adventures of two L.A. based plastic surgeons, found something else to bring to the big screen, which is indeed no less absurd.

The memoirs of Augusten Burroughs, titled "Running with Scissors" (Krass) made into a feature film and boy have we waited for that. Burroughs published five books so far (I couldn't find more titles on amazon, so excuse me if I'm wrong), of which four contain stories from his own life, so he claims. A life dominated by a crazy hippie-mother, wonderfully portrayed by Annette Bening in the picture, a drunk father, played by Alec Baldwin, and subsequent male father figures predominatly those of Dr. Finch (a hilarious Brian Cox), the psychiatrist - who takes over guardianship of 14-year-old Augusten - and his 31-year-old long-time patient (Joseph Fiennes), with whom Augusten has his first sexual relationship.

The story of the film starts in the 70s - Augusten's mother wanting to be a famous poet, his father working his ass off somewhere and himself stoically polishing every quarter of his pocket money. That Augusten isn't the typical boy can be seen from afar (yeah, he's doing as his mother does, so he's gay...). Years go by and the relationship between his parents grows colder for she'd not become, who she wanted to be and she also claims, that it's her husbands' fault, for not supporting her or even sabotage her efforts. His father seems to be drunk all day now.

At that point in time, Deidre, Augusten's mom, seeks out the help of the infamous psychiatrist Dr. Finch, whose counsel finally leads to the separation of the parents and Norman, Augusten's father, leaving the house.

A short time after this, Deidre - poised with drugs - signs over guardianship of her son to Dr. Finch. So, Augusten lives with the Finches and now things start to get real crazy...

The movie is filled with a kind of humor I like very much indeed. It's unconscious at times and sometimes it just arises from the occasion. Being as blunt as Brian Cox's version of Dr. Finch isn't a quality found in many psychiatrists (that might be why Dr. finch loses his patent somewhere along the way) he even suggests suicide - although, for it being a fake attempted one - just to keep a sense for adventure. He analyses his "family" to death, so his two daughters and adoptive son (although he wasn't really adopted) are fucked up all the way. They are very much like the Addams Family in behaviour - not so much in style or choice of color (the house is pink).

The strange thing about the movie is, that I am willing to believe, that everything really happend to Burroughs, even though the main story arc of the movie doesn't span so much time in his life. So many absurd and dramatic changes can only happen in real life - no one could ever possibly make that stuff up.

I really enjoyed the kind of black humor, so did everybody else in the audience, I think. Of course it's drama, because his family is destroyed and a lunatic takes its place, but strangely enough, that really produces the best comedy, which is based in real life. It's dark with all the thoughts of death and suicide, but it handles them in a light way, without becoming pretentious.

I almost missed the release of the movie, because I never knew, they would be taking the german book-title instead of the original film title. "Krass" (crass / gross) really describes the film in one word, but it doesn't necessarily attract any viewers. There aren't so many copies out there in Germany, so it's running only in a handful of cities. Watch it in theaters here.


- Drama - USA 2006
- FSK: 6 - still pending (ages 6 and up)
- Running Time: 116 Min.
- German Publisher: Sony Pictures
- German Publish Date: 18.01.2006

for further information visit:

German Sony Pictures Minipage
International Website

or read the books of Augusten Burroughs

You will find an interview with Burroughs about his life and the movie on amazon, next to the book.

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