The Addiction Blu-ray Review
"We're the ones who let the dying know the hour has come."
The Addiction Film Review
The Addiction sees uncompromising director Abel Ferrara play with themes of sexuality and religion in his unsurprisingly left-field version of a vampire film.Another gritty Old School director obsessed with the dirty streets of New York, Ferrara never really enjoyed the post-90s success of Scorsese, refusing to change with the times and continuing - to this day - to shoot no-budget, no-frills films that pull no punches.
Back in 1990, Ferrara hit a winning streak, with his superb gangster film The King of New York followed up by the film that went on to define Harvey Keitel's career, Bad Lieutenant, rounding out a solid run with his most commercial film - his remake of Body Snatchers. With the clout to do anything - within reason - he wanted to, Ferrara almost ruined all the good will he'd built up with the misguided Madonna vehicle Dangerous Game, and followed it up with an interesting double-act, shooting two films back-to-back, with a crossover cast and a limited budget.
The Addiction and The Funeral couldn't be less alike, and yet made for great companion-pieces, so much so that it's almost strange to watch them independently of one another.
Christopher Walken's cameo highlights the much-needed weight the film was lacking.
The alternative vampire story of The Addition follows Lili Taylor's philosophy student, who is bitted by a vampire femme fatale one night and finds her life turned upside down, confronting friends and professors both physically and philosophically, in a quest to find out what precisely has become of her.
Ferrara's vampire flick is an enticing little mood piece, cast in superb black and white tones that lend it a striking visual style. It's altogether quite slight, however, struggling to find meaning beyond loose philosophical ramblings and nods towards sin and damnation, enjoying Ferrara's trademark eye for natural street like as well as some of the most impressive modern use of black and white cinematography, but never really coming together into a cohesive whole.
Indeed Christopher Walken's shockingly brief, late-stage, final-act cameo only highlights the much-needed weight that the film was ultimately lacking. Likely missing the support of its arguably superior companion-piece, The Funeral, Ferrara's The Addiction plays out like a low budget variation on Tony Scott's more effective The Hunger, an interesting attempt from Ferrara to do something different with the vampire genre which, whilst it may not appeal to a broader audience, is sure to still find cult admirers in the director's fanbase.
The Addiction Blu-ray PictureThe Addiction comes to Region B-locked UK Blu-ray courtesy of Arrow Films, who deliver an outstanding 1080p/AVC-encoded High Definition video presentation framed in the movie's original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.75:1 widescreen.
Arrow secure a 4K restoration from the original negative, supervised by Ferrara himself, and the film looks better than it did back in the theatres in 1995, with the black and white image holding up almost flawlessly.
The film looks better than it did in theatres.
Detail is excellent throughout, bringing wisps of hair to life, skin blemishes, texture, clothing weaves and background nuances to wonderful life, serviced superbly the by the black and white cinematography.
Contrast is excellent, with rich, deep black levels and a striking greyscale range that runs the full gamut and allows for some superb bright whites and deep, dark, enveloping shadows. It's a great looking presentation.
The Addiction Blu-ray SoundThe Addiction comes with a couple of audio options, with the original stereo mix supplanted by a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix that is a solid alternative. Creepy and understated, and reliant upon a slightly poorly recorded narration (that pops and crackles around the edges), it's still a fairly effective track which build the atmosphere of this unusual vampire drama.
Faithful to the material.
Beyond the narration, dialogue is firmly prioritised across the frontal array, whilst longtime Ferrara composer Joe Delia's moody scoring builds tension and perfectly complements the ethereal narrative with occasionally haunting tones.
Effects are limited, with the natural street ambience picked up but the majority of the heavy lifting done by the aforementioned score. It's a strong enough track, hardly demo, but faithful to the material.
The Addiction Blu-ray ExtrasArrow certainly don't disappoint in the extras department, with a great selection of features headlined by an energetic Audio Commentary from the director himself (who is on pure Rick from Rick and Morty form) that's almost as curiously compelling as the movie, swearing and railing his way through the film with altogether too many shout-outs and side-nods, but such a fast and fresh slant that he almost gets away with it.
Talking Vampires is a great new half-hour Documentary shot for Arrow by Ferrara himself, featuring Christopher Walken and Lili Taylor, as well as composer Joe Delia and cinematographer Ken Kelsch. As you would only expect from Ferrara, it's quite an improvisational little piece, with some talking heads but also a fresh feel to it.
Arrow certainly don't disappoint in the extras department.
There are also a couple of new Interviews, one with Abel Ferrara himself, and one with critic and biographer Brad Stevens (who also accompanied Ferrara on the Commentary, albeit from the background).
The package is rounded out by an Archival Featurette, a couple of Trailers and a booklet with essays on the film.
The Addiction Blu-ray VerdictFerrara's The Addiction, as with many of his later films, rides a very fine line between stylish indie mood piece and arthouse pretentiousness, and it's not particularly helped by the on-the-nose philosophical ramblings that his characters spout.
Nonetheless, it's a very different, unusual and surprisingly - or unsurprisingly given the Director's credentials - compelling little alternative vampire drama that fans of the director won't be able to resist.
Rides a fine line between stylish indie mood piece and arthouse pretentiousness.
Arrow delivers a tremendous package with The Addiction Blu-ray, affording it stunning 4K-remastered video, solid audio and a great selection of extras, and making it an absolute must-have for fans of both the film and the director.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £14.99
Our Review Ethos
To comment on what you've read here, click the Discussion tab and post a reply.