The Addiction ★★★

Lili Taylor is a New York graduate student with a strong opinion against past American atrocities during their occupation in Vietnam – in one study an American G.I. platoon goes to maim and plunder… yet only one soldier is slapped with court martial charges. Taylor bitches to her confidante about the nature to scapegoat one soldier instead of bringing an entire outfit to its knees. On a dark night walk home after the two of them part, Taylor gets bitten and later becomes a vampire with no self-control to cap her compulsions in Abel Ferrara’s black & white The Addiction, one that’s written by Ferrara’s longtime collaborator Nicholas St. John. By what seems happenstance she meets another vampire in Christopher Walken (cameo) who goes on a stimulating philosophical rant on self-constraint, the discipline, the occasional gorging, the nature of evil, and so on. Other vampire characters met bloviate too on their ideals, their trespasses, their existentialism; some conversations seems to have no beginning and no end, they are just slipstreams of ideas.

I hardly needed another vampire movie in my life, as I feel I’ve seen enough of them. But there’s obviously something different going on here that makes this one unique. I’ve also come to notice in Ferrara movies his bathroom scenes; it seems to be a place where his characters succumb to their private urges or go hide their proclivities. Taylor wallows in her vampire behavior in her apartment flat bathroom and she might as well be a heroin addict, or something.

The movie, despite its reflective gab and alluring gloom and doom black & white look, still feels a bit slight. But I felt okay about that. There is one uproarious bloodbath – a civilized soirée made up of genteel intellectuals are interrupted by a cult of vampires. And this is a cult whom have figured out a way to excuse themselves with acting out their gluttony with, dare I say, no holds barred freedom. Taylor ponders with some individual guilt, “To face what we are at the end, we stand before the light and our true nature is revealed. Self-revelation is annihilation of self.” A ha, to exist, to exist, to exist…

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