Review: ‘Nadja’

Vampires stalk the netherworld of the downtown New York scene of Nadja, a lovely idea for a film that's been beautifully executed but slips too far off its narrative tracks to get where it wants to go. Lowbudgeter is stunningly lensed in a mixture of black-and-white 35mm and Pixelvision and featuring one of the sexiest female vampires ever to bare her teeth onscreen.

Vampires stalk the netherworld of the downtown New York scene of Nadja, a lovely idea for a film that’s been beautifully executed but slips too far off its narrative tracks to get where it wants to go. Lowbudgeter is stunningly lensed in a mixture of black-and-white 35mm and Pixelvision and featuring one of the sexiest female vampires ever to bare her teeth onscreen.

The darkly mysterious, extravagantly beautiful Nadja (Elina Lowensohn) picks up a guy in a bar and later feasts upon him. Nadja next meets young Lucy (Galaxy Craze), with whom she unexpectedly falls in love. Lucy, it turns out, is married to Jim (Martin Donovan), whose uncle, Dr Van Helsing (Peter Fonda), has killed Nadja’s father and is now after the alluring young woman and her twin brother, Edgar (Jared Harris), who is in the care of private nurse Cassandra (Suzy Amis).

After creating such promise through the intriguing setup of stuning twin vampires in trendy, nocturnal Gotham, it’s disappointing that Almereyda develops narrative butterfingers, letting the storyline become too diffuse and cutting among too many principal characters.

In his film Another Girl, Another Planet, Almereyda pioneered the use of the toy Pixelvision video camera, and he has reprised its use here in scenes that relate to the vampire state of mind. Technical work overall is fancy and impressive.

Nadja

Production

Kino Link. Director Michael Almereyda; Producer Mary Sweeney, Amy Hobby; Screenplay Michael Almereyda; Camera Jim Denault; Editor David Leonard; Music Simon Fisher Turner; Art Director Kurt Ossenfort

Crew

(B&W) Extract of a review from 1994. Running time: 95 MIN.

With

Suzy Amis Galaxy Craze Martin Donovan Peter Fonda Karl Geary Elina Lowensohn
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