Picks and Pans Review: The Hunger

updated 05/09/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/09/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT

In this modern tale of the supernatural, David Bowie has a problem: He's 200 years old and in love with Catherine Deneuve, who's about 4,000 years his senior. That they both look great has nothing to do with sessions at the skin stretcher's—they're vampires. Bowie and Deneuve haunt Manhattan's punk discos scaring up potential blood donors to keep up their life-style, which puts Dracula's to shame. They live in a gorgeous town house, teach classical music to teenagers, and keep a crematorium on the premises to dispose of their emptied vessels. Presumably, Deneuve keeps a hairstylist hidden as well, since she's always immaculately coiffed. The trouble comes when Bowie starts aging rapidly. It's an occupational hazard with Deneuve's lovers—their looks go after a few hundred years, after which they get moldier, but never die. Bowie's aging is accomplished by makeup artist Dick Smith, who did the same thing for Dustin Hoffman in Little Big Man. Hoffman was an Indian and Bowie isn't, but they come out looking the same; perhaps Smith has only one old man in his repertoire. Anyway, at this point the film becomes a soft-core lesbian vampire movie as Deneuve takes a new lover, a perky doctor played by Susan Sarandon. Their much-touted love scenes are visually dazzling and sensationally silly. Bowie and Sarandon do wonders with little and Deneuve, at 40, is ravishing. But it's no surprise that director Tony Scott comes from British TV commercials or that he's the brother of director Ridley (Alien, Blade Runner) Scott. The Scotts are known for wasting little time on character, and The Hunger isn't so much film-directed as interior-decorated. The result, especially for a vampire film, is curiously bloodless. (R)

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