So, another month has passed and here we are with another edition of 'Five Nights With...'. I forgot to post a reminder on Friday, but I really hope some of you can participate this week. Last night was rough. First of all, it was the first time I had seen 'The Hunger', so I really wanted to pay close attention, so as to take it all in. Sadly, I nearly forgot about the fact that today was the start of this and so it wasn't until around 11 last night that I thought "shit, I need to watch 'The Hunger'". Unfortunately, my son (who is only two months old) was not feeling sleep, and so he was screaming for nearly an hour before I could get him to pass out, and not just pass out, but pass out to the point where I could lay him down without him stirring himself awake again. So, it was around 12:30 this morning that I settled in to watching 'The Hunger', and while I was exhausted I found myself completely consumed with this film, frame to frame.
So, let's get this thing started!
The whole ‘vampire’ genre is bursting at the seams as of late with film after film targeting the teenage hormones with scantily clad malnourished looking celebrities fawning over one another in disturbing romances. You can’t escape it. What is so funny about ‘The Hunger’ is that this is basically the ‘Twilight’ of the 80’s, yet the target audience is NOT your average teenager. No, this eerie romance is darker, far more dangerous and layered with blustery sexuality, too hot for your tweens seeking out a thrill from some pasty kid.
‘The Hunger’ has real teeth.
That isn’t to say that ‘The Hunger’ is a particularly deep film, or really one that works on every level. It is obvious surface beauty that propels the film from scene to scene (whether it be the beautiful cinematography or the beautiful actresses that engage the film’s core), but it ‘feels’ like more than that, and that is what matters most in the end. This is due in large part to Tony Scott’s direction. He frames each scene with an intensity and utilizes imagery to create an eerie claustrophobia despite having every frame breath with such openness. He understands how to build upon our attention; pulling us in to every scene and building anticipation, and expectation.
The film opens with a staggering sequence in a nightclub where two vampires work separately to get their next fix, that fix being blood. One half of that pair is Miriam Blaylock, an ancient Egyptian vampire who selects a lover for a time, allowing them eternity under her shelter. That lover, at the moment, is John. When John starts to rapidly deteriorate though, it becomes apparent that Miriam has fallen out of love with him. Her sights have moved onto another person; doctor Sarah Roberts. As they become entangled in a strange game of sex and danger, Sarah finds her body changing and her mind racing as the truth about her situation becomes clearer and clearer.
‘The Hunger’ is a movie that pushes boundaries with violence and sex and does so with a showman’s aesthetic. Tony Scott was a very stylized director (not always for the good) and it pays off here. This is probably one of his least well known films and yet easily one of his finest, despite the overwhelming air of shallowness that clouds the film’s climax (it’s bold and grand and yet empty). Sarandon and Deneuve are stunning to watch, and their love scene is a work of art (tasteful in all its tacky deliciousness). Sarandon in particular is a star here, finding a way that filter so many layers of this woman, from her female empowerment, independence, naivety, curiosity, confused sexuality, firm resolve, sense of betrayal and saddened anger.
While this film is far from ‘perfect’, it puts those ‘Twilight’ films to complete shame.
So, tomorrow continues this theme with the 1967 classic 'Bonnie and Clyde'. I've been due for a rewatch, so I'm really excited to sink my teeth into it tonight. I hope that all of you have seen it, and if you want to review it (or any of the other films of the week) then please send me a link!