Review: The Hunger (1983)

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The Hunger (1983)

Directed by: Tony Scott | 93 minutes | horror, romance | Actors: Catherine Deneuve, David Bowie, Susan Sarandon, Cliff de Young, Beth Ehlers, Dan Hedaya, Rufus Collins, Suzanne Bertish, James Aubrey, John Pankow, Willem Dafoe, Sophie Ward

‘The Hunger’ is the feature film debut of Tony Scott, who previously directed mainly commercials. Director Alan Parker was actually producer Richard Sheppard’s first choice, but Alan Parker, who had seen Tony Scott’s commercials, thought he was the right man for the job and thanked him for the credit. Tony Scott’s advertising background is clearly visible, the film often consists of short shots with few dialogues, but with a great sense of lighting and camera angles. The images have to tell the story and the dialogues mainly have a supporting function. The oppressive, mysterious and surreal atmosphere that this creates is enhanced by the film locations, the costumes and the excellent make-up.

The music also fits the movie well. She emphasizes the emotions that the film evokes. The cast is a mixed group. The French character actress Catherine Deneuve, the English rock star David Bowie and the American rising star Susan Sarandon play the lead roles. All succeed in convincingly portraying their characters. Although the characters do not have much depth, you still feel connected to them as a viewer. David Bowie makes a big impression as John, the rapidly aging and sensitive husband of Miriam Blaylock, whose acting supported by excellent make-up captures and holds the viewer’s attention. The role of Miriam is played by Catherine Deneuve, who steals the show as the cool, calculated, macabre and elegant vampire. Her lesbian sex scene with Susan Sarandon caused quite a stir in America when the film was released in 1983. Susan Sarandon, perhaps too young to play the part of Doctor Sarah Roberts, shows with her acting that she had the potential to grow into what she is today. The observant viewer will spot William Dafoe in his first small film role.

‘The Hunger’ is based on Whitley Strieber’s novella of the same name, which undoubtedly shows more depth and character development than Tony Scott did with the film. He has indicated that he has not fully followed the book. Still, cinematically speaking, the film is a feast for the eyes and its film style leaves you hungry for more.

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