Made before Jude Law became famous, Immortality is a film that I decided to watch after looking through the horror selection of Netflix Instant Viewing and deciding “Hey this looks interesting.” This is as much a monster movie as it is a vampire film, although Law’s seemingly normal doctor kills his prey in the manner of the vampire so it counts. He has a strange disorder that requires not just blood but also the emotions of his victims; therefore he fests only on women who he meets by pretending to being a charming stranger. The problem he encounters is that he finds a woman that he likes from the beginning: in turn he starts to experience feelings of love that complicate his ability to feed and survive. If a vampire falling in love with a human and not killing her sounds familiar, well that forms the basis of the Twilight series. While I’m not sure that a series I really despise ripped off this movie, it wouldn’t shock me. Anyways Innocent Blood from 1992 really did the whole “Vampire and human fall in love bit” even earlier, and I’m sure there is another film that also covered a similar subject.
However in this case Law’s Steven has bigger problems: the police are on to him after a couple previous “girlfriends” died mysteriously, and there happens to also be a menacing gang of street toughs. He is forced to protect Anne from such thugs in a scene that is funny yet also kind of cool. Apparently being a vampire means you know how to fight, although perhaps Steven like most vampires has enhanced powers. Still that’s not even the highlight of the film-I much prefer the scene where Steven and the cop pursing him, Inspector Healey (Timothy Spall) discuss the nature of evil and what it takes for someone to lie to people, to be a truly horrible person. A moment like makes this film more above the typical level of a vampire film, and not enough of them properly flesh out or even dare to humanize their main vampire characters.
Tragic, romantic, and actually creepy, Immortality was a pleasant surprise during my Horrorfest viewing. Elina Löwensohn is a natural as Anne, a woman clearly in over her head yet refusing to give up Steven despite her judgment telling her otherwise. This film has a sense of both style and grace that is intoxicating and engaging, mediating upon the nature of the beast and the beast’s interactions with others. I also much prefer the other title The Wisdom of Crocodiles because it fits the movie better and is a more accurate representation of what the film is truly about. Particularly since at times Steven has the manner and habits of the crocodile, a great watery reptile that lurks in the reeds, waiting to pick off its dinner at the most opportune moment.
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