Eddie: The Sleepwalking Cannibal Boris Rodriguez

Eddie: The Sleepwalking Cannibal Boris Rodriguez
"You can't wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club." A radio announcer quoting Jack London blatantly sets the stage for a silly and contrived story about a painter in the twilight of fame who finds a new muse in the form of — you guessed it — a sleepwalking cannibal.

If Eddie is any indication, there's a reason director Boris Rodriguez hasn't found much work in the past two decades: he isn't very good. It's seldom clear if we're supposed to be laughing at, or with, the characters and it's even less clear where the line of probability is drawn, and how intentional crossing it is.

There's a valuable nugget of story buried beneath all the manufactured conveniences, but it's continually undermined by the overt subtext of art as addiction, which Rodriguez insists on having the characters explicitly state when it's already been made abundantly clear.

Lars Olafssen (Thure Lindhardt) is inspired by violence, the gorier the better. He hasn't produced significant work in years and is getting comfortable with a teaching job at an art school in the tiny fictional Canadian town of Koda Lake. However, highly improbable circumstances find him guilt-tripped into living with an emotionally disturbed man-child with a history of eating small animals in his sleep.

There's some rubbish about it being in the school founder's will that the faculty must care for Eddie (Dylan Smith) personally or the school will be closed. Of course, Lars has already established a rapport with the perpetually taunted mute who communicates only through rudimentary drawings. As unlikely as the conditions leading to the situation are, the genuine connection between Lars and the marginalized victim of childhood trauma — I guess not every boy who sees his mother butchered as a child grows up to be a well-adjusted vigilante serial killer — is the film's greatest strength.

It's a shame that Rodriquez elects to exploit the circumstance in the service of gags that fall flat, having Lars use his friend to feed his id-fuelled work, rather than exploring the ability of an artist to relate to someone who can't connect to the rest of the world. But it's much "funnier" to have a "retard" stumble through the snow in his underwear, ripping people's heads off with his bare hands (because sleepwalking gives you super-strength and invulnerability to hypothermia?).

Actually funny though, is the cynical assertion that success in the art world is predicated on emotionally stunted slackers consuming their peers. (Mongrel Media)