The Wisdom Of Crocodiles

How you like your vampires will determine your reaction to this exercise in arty blood-sucking, which nearly strangles in its own stylishness but benefits from smoldering performances by Jude Law and Elina Löwensohn. Handsome, cultured medical technician Steven Grlscz (Law) seduces and murders women to feed his unnatural hunger for blood. He's under police...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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How you like your vampires will determine your reaction to this exercise in arty blood-sucking, which nearly strangles in its own stylishness but benefits from smoldering performances by Jude Law and Elina Löwensohn. Handsome, cultured medical technician Steven Grlscz (Law) seduces and murders women to feed his unnatural hunger for blood. He's under police surveillance in the wake of his two most recent girlfriends' mysterious deaths, with Inspector Healey (Timothy Spall) heading up the investigation. As Healy and his partner dog Steven's heels, asthmatic structural engineer Anna Levels (Löwensohn) comes into Steven's life. At first he sees her simply as another liquid meal, but she has a haunted quality that strikes a chord in his troubled soul; could she be the woman whose pure love will heal him? First-time writer Paul Hoffman and veteran director Po Chih Leong (his credits, mostly in Hong Kong, date back to the mid-'70s) clearly know their revisionist vampire tales; the ghosts of MARTIN and THE HUNGER lurk conspicuously in Steven's shadow. But more than anything it resembles a feature-length episode of The X-Files, all moody cinematography, metaphorical horror — Steven feeds on the love of the women he drains — and "scientific" spookiness: Steven is a freak of nature, not a supernatural shape-shifter or a reanimated corpse. Law and Löwensohn make a moodily handsome couple, as enticingly exotic as the richly art-directed sets they inhabit. But their characters never come to life; they're both the sum of their clothes and accessories. And frankly, not much actually happens, which gives you too much time to ponder such petty plot issues as, what do English

structural engineers and medical technicians earn that they can afford such swanky pads, and how do Anna and Steven keep their jobs when they almost never deign to show up at work?

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  • Released: 1998
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: How you like your vampires will determine your reaction to this exercise in arty blood-sucking, which nearly strangles in its own stylishness but benefits from smoldering performances by Jude Law and Elina Löwensohn. Handsome, cultured medical technician S… (more)

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