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Interview with the Vampire

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Interview with the Vampire

Starring: Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt
Director: Neil Jordan
Rated: R
RunTime: 122 Minutes
Release Date: November 1994
Genres: Horror, Drama, Suspense

*Also starring: Antonio Banderas, Stephen Rea, Christian Slater, Kirsten Dunst, Domiziana Giordano, Thandie Newton, Indra Ove

Review by Dragan Antulov
1 star out of 4

There are some instances when the author of this review almost feels embarrassed while giving negative ratings to certain titles. This is especially so when those titles are relatively well-written, well-shot and obvious product of great effort, resources and talent, yet they still fail certain magic ingredient that would give them positive rating. INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE, 1994 romantic horror epic directed by Neil Jordan, is one of such examples.

The screenplay for this film was written by Anne Rice, author of the 1976 cult novel that became first in the series of books exploring the world of vampires from their own perspective. The plot begins in present time, when sceptic San Francisco journalist Malloy (played by Christian Slater) begins interviewing Louis de Ponte du Lac (played by Brad Pitt), man who claims that he had spent last two centuries as a vampire. Louis' tale begins in 1791 when he was a plantation owner in New Orleans and had his life ruined after the death of his wife and child. While in such sorry state, he was turned into a vampire by Lestat de Lioncurt (played by Tom Cruise), who later become Louis' mentor and companion. Two of them, despite sharing the same vampiric condition, have different morals - while Louis enjoys killing, Louis is still haunted by traces of human conscience within himself and takes another life only when the thirst for blood becomes unbearable. Their relation is further complicated when they turn little girl Claudia (played by Kirsten Dunst) into a vampire. But the bliss in this little "family" would last only until Claudia, now mature, soon realises that she would forever be trapped in the body of a little girl.

Judging by the films he is best remembered for, Irish director Neil Jordan tends to deal with realistic plots and characters much better than those set in the realms of fantasy or horror. INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE wasn't exception, although Jordan can't be accused of not trying to make the best of it. The task was anything but simple - the story spawns through three centuries and different locations, thus demanding meticulous production and costume design. Jordan was fortunate to have plenty of talents at his disposal, including Dante Ferretti as production designer and Philippe Rousselot as director of photography. With lots of sepia tones and various period details, Jordan managed to keep the same gothic atmosphere throughout the whole film. The acting, on the other hand, leaves something to be desired. Brad Pitt is barely adequate for his role, while Tom Cruise, initially very controversial choice for the role of Lestat, is somewhat irritating in a rare opportunity to play villain. However, young Kirsten Dunst outshines them both in the complicated and potentially controversial role of a mature woman stuck in little girl's body.

The real reason why INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE fails to reach its potential could be found in the plot itself. The epic scope was more suitable for the mini-series than feature film, which, even with two hours of length, seems much shorter than it should have been. On the other hand, after a while, this film becomes boring, mostly due to fact that it consists mostly of Louis' whining about the heavy price of immortality. Another, even more important, issue is lack of any opposition or danger for the vampires - we are led to believe that they can be able to kill men, women and children by dozens in a very graphic and noticeable way, yet it seems that the people around them don't notice it. After a while, it gets somewhat tedious watching all that carnage, and the weak and melodramatic ending doesn't help either. All in all, INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE is a well-made yet failed film that could give real pleasure only to those who prefer form over content.

Copyright 2002 Dragan Antulov

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