askygoneonfire: David Bowie in profile with a hat (Bowie Man Who)
a sky gone on fire ([personal profile] askygoneonfire) wrote2016-01-15 09:29 pm
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David Bowie Is...Hungry

The Hunger (1983)

It struck me, as I popped yet another David Bowie dvd into the player, that I never concluded the series of blog posts on them.

Tonight I watched The Hunger for the first time.

As David Bowie movies go, it fulfils the key requirements; a number of lingering shots playing over his beautiful features, a bit of sex, a somehow inhuman, or superhuman character. Unfortunately, he's only in it for about 40 minutes and only recognisable for about 20.

The Hunger is a curious film. To all intents and purposes, it's a well made (if you can ignore the monkey murder), engaging gothic-thriller-mystery for the first 20 minutes. Then, as the "make up illusions" (so claimed in the opening credits) begin to emerge it all goes rather downhill. Fast.

There's a brief reprise in the form of a reasonable lesbian sex scene, with Susan Sarandon looking the best she ever has. Then it gets....weird.  It's somehow a low budget vampire flick with hammy acting and inexplicable plotting, and also a big-name-star erotic thriller with a pleasingly open (and also absurd) ending.  

The use of "special" effects is...well. I want to say comendable. Because anyone brave enough to use such low quality fake blood so unconvincingly must be applauded for their efforts.

But what to celebrate? As so often with Bowie films, it's the smaller moments that make this film worth sitting through.  The beautiful scene with Bowie playing cello feels like it was lifted from a high end drama (incidentally, that's the clip they chose to loop at David Bowie Is in the screenign room). The moment as he lays awake in the dawn light and the camera plays across his fragile, wonderfully androgynous features: and he looks tired, and happy, and sad.  The very real lust which plays across his face as he undresses the girl from the club and cracks his tongue up her body.

That bit gives me dirty, filthy, longing shivers.  

Like so many other Bowie films, he gives his all to utterly implausible plots and badly executed screenplays, and shines in moments, just moments, which never get joined up into the tour de force he deserved.  The Man Who Fell to Earth comes closest, and I do love that film more with age, but Candy bloody Clarke is never going to disappear from that film, so sadly, it will never achieve what it should or could have.  Much like The Hunger.