D: Abel Ferarra / DP: Ken Kelsch
Lili Taylor, Christopher Walken, Annabella Sciorra, Edie Falco, Paul Calderon, Kathryn Erbe, Michael Imperioli, Fredo Starr
Magnificent look at addiction in several forms. The lovely and underrated Lili Taylor perfectly conveys the subtleties of change in this black-and-white art house study. Her chameleon qualities are neither too delicate nor overbearing.
During a walk home from college in Manhattan, a woman throws Taylor into an underground passage and bites her neck. Slowly, she is transformed into a denizen of darkness while working toward her PhD in philosophy. Intelligent, dark, and philosophically guided, Taylor’s matriculation becomes believable and surreal. Walken’s short walk-on (pun intended) – but important – performance breathes life into the story at a perfect point.
Not for the faint of heart or the impatient. Ferarra’s B&W style is slow, evenly-paced and ultimately convincing, saying more with a shadow and a movement than many less talented directors say with an entire film. The bathroom mirror scene (where Taylor fails to see her reflection) is bloodcurdling.
The “v” word is never used.
“The dark is
their sunlight. What makes them different is what keeps them