Tag Archives: Edie Falco


DIRECTED BY:  Jamie Babbit

FEATURING:  Elisha Cuthbert, Camilla Belle, Edie Falco, Martin Donovan, Katy Mixon

PLOT: A deaf girl becomes ensnared in her adoptive family’s amoral dysfunctions.

Still from The Quiet (2005)

WHY IT WON’T MAKE THE LIST:   The Quiet is an artfully produced, comparatively non-formulaic independent film, but it’s not a dramatic enough departure from the thriller genre to constitute a truly weird viewing experience.

COMMENTS:  Strong sexual themes ground this strange tale of a family slowly going insane.  After her father’s untimely death, deaf-mute teenager Dot (Belle) is taken in by her godparents (Donovan, Falco) who from outward appearances have a conventional, affluently idyllic suburban life along with their cheerleader daughter Nina (Cuthbert).  Dot’s transition is derailed by increasingly disturbing conflicts and revelations. Her new family has dark secrets.

A sick, twisted dysfunctionality plagues the household.  Trapped between an opiate addict mother, licentious father, homicidal sister, and perverted new beau, Dot struggles to keep her perspective.  Unable to readily communicate, and with no outside party to turn to, Dot is at a disadvantage when her demented new family draws her into a sordid web of immorality and charade.  The line between spider and fly becomes blurred, however, when it turns out that Dot harbors her own eerie enigma.

The Quiet rips the facade from blissful, suburban tranquility in the tradition of movies such as American Beauty and The Safety Of Objects.  Less satirical than the former and not as convoluted as the later, The Quiet is a suspenseful drama with an hypnotic narrative tone reminiscent of One Day Like Rain and Make-Out with Violence.

The Quiet is a well produced film with a perverse story.  It does not set out to be a black comedy, or a sophisticated social indictment of suburbia, although it contains some elements of both.  Neither is it a movie with a message or mere exploitation.  The Quiet is a simple, racy, psychological thriller.  With some hauntingly memorable dialogue, it is arty yet lucid, brooding and visually dark.  While more twists and turns would have provided greater depth, it is structurally complete enough to be worthwhile for patrons seeking a departure from blockbusters, crowd-pleasers, and annoying Lifetime Network potboilers.

Feminist director Jamie Babbit’s other films include But I’m A Cheerleader and Itty Bitty Titty Comittee.  Viewers will recognize Cuthbert from the sensational The Girl Next Door.


“…flirts with the trappings of exploitation cinema without going all the way. The director… suggestively crowds her two talented leads together, but can’t push them or the film into the fairy-tale surrealism to which she seems to aspire.”–Manohla Dargis, The New York Times (contemporaneous)

The Quiet trailer


DIRECTED BY: Abel Ferrara

FEATURING: Lili Taylor, Christopher Walken, Annabella Sciorra, Edie Falco

PLOT: An NYU grad student is bitten on the neck one night, leading her down a rabbit hole of moral and physical degradation.

Still from The Addiction (1995)

WHY IT MIGHT MAKE THE LIST: The Addiction strips away the clichés from the vampire formula, replacing bats and theatrics with a personal disintegration reminiscent of Repulsion.  What it lacks in weird imagery is more than made up for by its melding of Sartre, heroin addiction, and the supernatural, as well as the eerie atmosphere established by its chiaroscuro photography.

COMMENTS:  Throughout his career, Abel Ferrara has made New York-centric films with a grindhouse flavor and an aspiration to artistry.  In Ms. 45 (1981), he took on the rape-revenge film; with Bad Lieutenant (1992), he made a Scorsese-esque crime drama.  Similarly, The Addiction is a one-of-a-kind vampire movie, marrying urban realism, graphic horror, and several films’ worth of existentialist banter.  Although the latter attribute occasionally renders the film inaccessible, it also grants the characters’ neck-biting intrigues an unexpected gravity while making Ferrara’s serious cinematic intentions very clear.  This is The Hunger for the smart set.

I Shot Andy Warhol star Lili Taylor plays Kathy, who’s en route to getting her Ph.D. in philosophy when a late-night run-in with a mysterious seductress (Sciorra) leaves a bloody gash on her neck and spurs a metamorphosis from mousy student to loud-mouthed blood junkie. In a series of violent encounters, Kathy’s newfound aggression (coupled with severe photosensitivity) spreads like a virus to her friends, professors, and even the strangers who harass her on the street. Late in the film, she meets an elder vampire named Peina (Walken) who teaches her to control her addiction while quoting William S. Burroughs and Charles Baudelaire; the ending that follows is puzzling but weirdly suggestive, as orgiastic indulgence and Catholic guilt come into play.

The Addiction is shot in high-contrast black and white, bringing expressionistic shadows in conflict with a tendency toward naturalism, especially as Ferrara’s camera prowls the classrooms and hallways of NYU. Taylor gives a stand-out performance as a woman rotting from the inside out, matched by her poetically hard-boiled voiceover. When she enters a university library, for example, she growls, “The smell here’s worse than a charnel house.” These lurid monologues color our perceptions of Ferrara’s New York like the saxophones in Bernard Herrmann’s score for Taxi Driver, drawing us deep into Kathy’s dissipation. And Walken, as usual, is the voice of demented authority, cavorting around Kathy’s exhausted body with his slicked-back hair and daffy energy. He’s only in one scene, but he casts a long shadow across the preceding film.

At times, The Addiction teeters dangerously close to being unforgivably pretentious; it’s packed wall-to-wall with philosophical jargon, grandiose statements about hell and morality, and vampiric metaphors for sex, drugs, and genocide. But the film’s saved by its (and Taylor’s) sheer conviction that something intelligent and well thought-out is being said. Even when the film’s open-ended chronology and its abstract conception of vampirism threaten to make the plot totally incomprehensible, you can hold onto Ferrara’s sincere interest in spiritual redemption and moral culpability. In the end, this thematic integrity, when brought out through Taylor’s uncompromising performance, blasts away any doubts: this is a totally different species of vampire movie.


“…this is one wild, weird, wired movie, the kind that really shouldn’t be seen before midnight… Scary, funny, magnificently risible, this could be the most pretentious B-movie ever – and I mean that as a compliment.”–Time Out London