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The Addiction (1995).

January 4, 2007

The Scoop:
Is there a more overrated indie director than Abel Ferrara? Now that I think of it, anything’s possible, but Ferrara’s name certainly would be near the top of the list. Aside from “Driller Killer” (1978) and maybe “Bad Lieutenant” (1992), he’s been shelling out crap for the past three decades that pretends to be provocative, but it really just pretentious.

Case in point… “The Addiction.”

Starting with an intriguing premise — the parallels between vampirism and drug addiction — Ferrara and screenwriter Nicholas St. John manage to deliver neither the shocks or eroticism we’ve come to expect from vampire stories, nor any of the insights promised by the premise. Instead, the audience gets talked to death. (Sample dialogue: “Essence is revealed through praxis. The philosopher’s words, his ideas, his actions, cannot be separated from his value, his meaning. That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? Our impact on other egos.” Whew!)

Lili Taylor plays a graduate student who gets bitten by vampire Annabella Sciorra, which leads to a cavalcade of intellectual angst. There’s really not much more plot than that, just 84 minutes of deep philosphical speculations on what it “means” to be a vampire. I thought it meant you got to look sexy while stalking and killing people in an elaborate coital analogy. But everyone involved with “The Addiction” seems to have rejected that answer out of hand, leaving them spinning their wheels and not answering much of anything at all.

Best Bit:
There are actually two good scenes in the film — a snooty cocktail party that turns into a vampire orgy, and Christopher Walken’s cameo. They’re the only reason you should even consider watching this mess.

Side Note:
Co-produced by Def Jam mogul Russell Simmons.

Companion Viewing:
The similarly-themed “Nadja” (1995) manages to be a more successful merger of vampire and art house sensibilities — but just barely.


Take a Look:
Ferrara (or maybe it’s some homeless guy from Washington Square, I dunno) discusses his craft:

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