Projections - Movie Reviews

The Wisdom of Crocodiles The Wisdom of Crocodiles

A different kind of vampire lurks in modern-day England in the existentially-titled Wisdom Of Crocodiles.  Starting Jude Law as Steven Griscz, a medical researcher who appears to be of Bulgarian descent, he consumes the nourishment of love from the blood of his victims.  In this peculiar metaphysical thriller, sucking the blood of young women who are in love with him is vital when passion climaxes, for essential crystallization in his hemoglobin to ensure his survival.  He is  ultimately looking for ennui: a woman that would rid his serial-killing activity, albeit her physical sacrifice.

Director Po-Leong, a Chinese native, schooled in Britain, renders a philosophical palette with pallid shadings with respect to its love story and theology, but there is an aura that he captures in Steven's life that oddly makes for an aesthetic sensuality.  But those who are able to see Wisdom of Crocodiles for this will still be in some state of obscurity as Leong can't get rid of the sense of detachment with its mysterious spin on this appallingly lustful way to eradicate love.

Steven is pictured in the beginning at a crash where his current girlfriend perished and he prevents a young woman (Kerry Fox) from taking her life.  However, Griscz the killer emerges with the proper blood type in a "reverse transfusion."  So, with the finding of her corpse, Wisdom of Crocodiles,  proceeds in its complex chess match as Timothy Spall's clever police inspector and Elina Lowensohn as his latest lovely elixir figures in the offbeat poetic narrative from Paul Hoffman.

Its titular reference with its many strange notions come from the way reptiles have evolved in the human brain which are perilously with Steven.  Leong is interested in integrating this with some pretentious photography and a dirge-like score that is sometimes joyous but equally kinky as he tries to pattern the layered character of a charismatic madman.

Law here looks more like he did in David Cronenberg's eXisTenZ than his vicariously golden slacker living in Italy, Dickie, in The Talented Mr. Ripley. Talking about good and evil separated by a line works into his heartfelt intensity to desire love which is in one's emotional bloodstream.  He somehow projects sensitivity against a ferocity as his intensity surges from a murky complexion.

In this shadow portentous film, Loewensohn, who was in the bloody Nadja, ably gets into Steven's primary conquest with subtle power even in Leong's mostly bloodless going ones.  Spall has range and stability in his dogged detective following Steven's perverse leads.

Off of its interesting, but paradoxical moniker, Wisdom of Crocodiles abstrusely has a fondness for tapping into divisive perceptions and beings, but its ambiguities, don't really have a poignant, tangible, interpretative resolution.  Moreover, for all of its transcendental poetry of a man who has to be a reptilian Casanova, and the minimalist power of Law, an intriguing premise of a man on the hunt, incredibly bites into its eerie cleverness.

The Wisdom of Crocodiles

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