ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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Immortality (1998)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Po-Chih Leong

Starring:
Jude Law/Steven
Elina Lowensohn/Anna
Timothy Spall/Inspector Healey
PLOT-CRUNCH
Steven Grlscz (Law) is one peculiar dude. Apart from not having vowels in his last name, he also needs to drink the blood of women (that are at the height of passion no less) in order to survive. But life throws him a curve ball when his next conquest (Lowensohn) winds up being more than what he bargained for…he falls in love with her for real. Will he slurp on her too?
THE LOWDOWN
The original title of this film was "The Wisdom of Crocodiles"

This flick is more of a love story with a dark twist then a straight out horror movie. It follows a relationship throughout and the blood drinking thang can be a metaphor for so many things (you figure it out). So as a love story and a look at the progression of a relationship the movie works, it covers those elements in a very honest way. It also works as a fascinating character study. Steven is an enigma (notice how the number 6 follows him around…is he the devil?). He recites poetry at the drop of a hat, has the best ways to pick up chicks (loved the phone thang), can write with one hand and draw with the other AT THE SAME time and when ass kicking is needed, he puts Bruce Lee to shame. I identified with the character. No, I can’t write with two hands or drink blood, but his manipulative ways and his loneliness hit home. Love is not always a very honest emotion. The things we do to get what we want out of a relationship don’t always come from a good place. This movie covers that theme very well.

The dialogue of the film is very true and strong also. I loved the whole "we all have three brains" statement. If you like off-the-wall theories (or are they facts) then you will appreciate all the juicy things Steven has to say. I also adored the scenes between Steven and the Inspector (Spall). Their relationship is very interesting and their discussion about good and evil made me sit up and listen more attentively. Another scene that whet my pallet was the fight scene with the hoodlums. The director goes high style on that one and it had me grinning with delight. One question though: do British bums always dress that colorfully? They looked like "M&Ms" on two legs to me.

I did have a few problems with the movie. First off, I know Steven’s condition is not something to mull over, its purpose is to be symbolic. But I still wanted a clearer explanation for it. He works at a medical facility, why wasn’t he searching for a cure to heal himself? Another thing that bothered me was the ending. I was hoping and praying for a quiet and subtle cap off that fit the rest of the film. But here they go the typical way: a chase scene that ends on a rooftop. That pissed me off. The whole movie avoids the clichés and at the hour mark I was making up my own endings, saying to myself "I hope it ends like this, I hope it ends like that". Unfortunately for me, the movie didn’t go with any of my conclusions. Damn!

All in all though, "Immortality" (I hate the new title, "Wisdom Of Crocodiles" was a way better title to define this film) is a poetic, sad, well-acted and well-directed little opus. Not much physical action happens but the character interaction kept going and the somber visuals are very beautiful to look at. Is it a vampire flick? Not really. Is it a thought out artsy piece about relationships and the dark side of humanity? You bet it is. Listen to the wisdom of The Arrow…
GORE
A few nasty bloody bites. Bit neck with blood splashing on the wall. An accidental grisly slit throat and other goodies. The blood is not too frequent but when it flows, it flows red.
ACTING
Jude Law (Steven) hypnotizes the screen. Be it his piercing stare or his many "weird" physical postures, he will put you in a trance. He’s a very focused actor and he comes through here again. Is it me or does he look like the singer of British pop/rock band "BLUR"? Elina Lowensohn (Anna Timothy) is not the best looking babe on the block but she’s got lots of charm. Is it the funky accent (sounds like French)? The beautiful smile? Who knows? Her and Law have solid chemistry together. I dug Timothy Spall (Inspector Healey) a lot. He plays it down and his scenes with Law are lots of fun to watch. Nice work.
T & A
Elina Lowensohn shows a nipple (yes, just one) and Jude Law goes naked but we don’t see much except lots of pubes. Trim Jude! Trim that bush!
DIRECTING
The film moves at a slow but steady pace with atmosphere up the wazoo. The director has a thing for designs. Be it Law’s pad or drawings. He likes to concentrate on them. We also get a couple of nice shots, some great play with sound, groovy play with shadows, a bit of slow motion and some red filters. Some of the locations are very interesting visually (the swamp, the museum, etc..) and the director milks them for all they’re worth.
SOUNDTRACK
A gloomy score that hits all the right notes.
BOTTOM LINE
If you’re looking for another "The Lost Boys" or "Near Dark", look elsewhere. But if you’re in the mood for a quiet film that studies love, has strong characters and haunting atmosphere...then this is it. The film has its flaws (the ending is one big one) but overall I felt satisfied when the credits rolled. I can think of worse ways to kill two hours than watching Jude Law command the screen. Want a drop of blood in your tea? Here ya go!
BULL'S EYE
"The Wisdom of Crocodiles" (aka "Immortality") was awarded the Grand Prize Of European Fantasy Film at 1999 Brussels International Festival Of Fantasy Film

A Jude Law quote about the film: "On one level, the film is about how people manipulate each other in relationships, how they make you change or change themselves in order to fit into another person's life. On another level, it's about good and evil, the good and evil inside each of us. We're all made up of a mixture of both - that's what makes us whole. There's something about goodness that brings out evil and vice versa."
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