Monday, 24 April 2017

Tony Scott is generally associated with his mainstream actioners, from Top Gun to Unstoppable, but his first feature was a much more arthouse affair: The Hunger, an erotic vampire movie which bombed back in 1983 but has since built up a cult following.

It stars Catherine Deneuve as ancient vampire Miriam Blaylock and David Bowie as her husband John. When John begins to age rapidly, Miriam grows attracted to Dr. Sarah Roberts (Susan Sarandon), a scientist studying the causes of ageing, not to find answers but to take her on as a new lover.

This love triangle may be pleasingly unconventional, but it is pretty much all there is going on. Much like Only Lovers Left Alive, it’s often a ponderous movie, with Scott’s staccato cutting between scenes only superficially livening up the pace and failing to mask the scarcity of plot. There are a few sequences when the story begins to grab the attention – John realising he’s beginning to age; Sarah furious at Miriam for poisoning her blood, in what could be interpreted as an AIDS allegory; an energetic final confrontation – but these are bookended by the more plodding sequences.

That said, even the less interesting parts of the story can be a delight to watch, with a gothic class to Stephen Goldblatt’s dark and blue-tinged cinematography, plus three incredible central performances. The Hunger hasn’t aged as poorly as some other films of the period have – it’s just as captivating and as frustrating as ever.


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