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Immortality (January 5/01)

Immortality makes the near fatal mistake of being so enigmatic and mysterious that by the time the movie's over, you still aren't entirely sure what just happened.

Jude Law stars as a young man who may or may not be a vampire. In the first 10 minutes of the movie, we watch as he saves a suicidal woman from throwing herself in front of a train - only to kill her via neck bite a bit later. The rest of the film follows his wooing and eventual relationship with another young woman. Will he kill her? Is he a vampire? The first question is easy enough to answer, but the second question…

Slow-paced and confusing, the film appears to be building up to a climax involving a lot of answers. By the time the movie hits the 75-minute mark, it seems as though some sort of an explanation is right around the corner. Alas, the ending comes and goes without any sort of a clue as to what we've been watching for the past 100 minutes. This shouldn't be so troublesome - plenty of movies have had some aspect of their plot remain unexplained - but here, that just doesn't work. The entire narrative hinges on whether or not Law is a vampire, simply because we need to know why he acts the way he does. Without a clear explanation, the movie winds up being a bizarre look into the life of a crazy guy.

But what Immortality does have going for it is an impressive roster of actors. Besides Law (who's excellent, as usual), there's underrated character actor Timothy Spall, Kerry Fox, and - as Law's object of desire - Elina Lowensohn. Lowensohn will probably look familiar to fans of Seinfeld - she was the gymnast that Jerry dated - but she's best known for appearing in most of indie filmmaker Hal Hartley's films. She's never really had the opportunity to play a regular woman before, and she proves that she can do more than just quirky.

Immortality squanders some good performances and inventive direction with a screenplay that seems to thrive on being ambiguous. Skip it.

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