Thursday, 29 October 2009

Interview with the Vampire


Dir: Neil Jordon (The Good Thief, The Crying Game, We're No Angels)
Source Material: Interview with the Vampire novel by Anne Rice
Cast: Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Kirsten Dunst, Antonio Banderas, Stephen Rea, Christian Slater
USA, 1994

Seen: Revisited October 24, 2009 on DVD

Reason to Review: Vampathon: Vampire Film Marathon *

This is where we get to vamp films where I have very strong memories of seeing when they first came out. At the time we were starting to see a resurgence of vampires in film with both Bram Stoker's Dracula and Buffy the Vampire Slayer hitting theatres in 1992. Then here in 1994 we have Interview with the Vampire, which had pretty big hype around this film as the Anne Rice books were already very popular which led the big question of whom could fill such big shoes? The casting was very controversial, with Brad Pitt cast as Louis after only having a few big credits under his belt (Thelma & Louise, A River Runs Through It) and Tom Cruise as Lestat even though he's always the charmer was at the time still considered a star over being a serious actor, even though it was post Born of the Fourth of July he was still known better for roles in films like Days of Thunder, Cocktail and Top Gun. Controversy aside, both actors deliver bringing two very different vampires to life: the emotional and guilt-ridden Louis & the lively and decadent Lestat.

Revisiting the film now, I enjoyed it much more than the first time now. I really appreciated the complexities in all the various relationships, and it captures the consistent vampire theme of loneliness very well. Exploring the ideas of the creators and demonstrating the effects of different approaches with mentors we get very rich and complicated relationships. We also see the distinct separation of human society once anyone becomes a vampire. Very little crossover here between the two worlds of day and night.

Although the settings of New Orleans as well as Europe are fantastic backdrops, the strength of the film is in the characters themselves. There are very different personalities portrayed, giving viewers different portraits to latch onto. I've never been a big Louis fan, even though he's a lot nicer than anyone else in the film, trying to retain his humanity. Lestat is no angel, but his exuberance is compelling. Out of the performances, I continue to be astonished by Kirsten Dunst as the young vampire Claudia who comes alive on the screen. It's always a treat to see Antonio Banderas, as he perfectly cast as the old world vampire Armand. In fact, on of my strongest memories of this film overall is hanging out at a friends house as we watched the Pay-Per-View previews loop endlessly just to catch the few seconds of Antonio Banderas in the preview.

As a vampire film, it feels like a turning point in the genre where be begin to see the concept of a vampire resisting their vampiric and trying to hold on to or at least respect humanity. It brings up the interesting question of the choice to go with or fight against what is consider your nature.

Shannon's Overall View:
I enjoyed it much more than expected
I ended up buying it
I'd recommend it as fans of vampire films, especially those who enjoy a historical flair

Return to Film Reviews, See all Vampire Film Reviews

© Shannon Ridler, 2009

* Vampathon is a 16 week marathon explore vampire films from Nosferatu (1922) up to the upcoming release of The Twilight Saga: New Moon

The DVD has great extras including interviews, commentary with director Neil Jordon and behind-the-scenes documentaries. Even the menu is awesome as it features a fade in/out of the major characters of Lestat, Louis, Claudia and Armand:


1 comment:

themarina said...

I'm still waiting for the 15th anniversary special edition. Where the heck is it?!? Bha!

One of my favorite films. Of all time. Of ever. So much to love I don't know where to even start so we'll just say that I love it all.

My fondest memory of the film (a movie I've seen so many times I can recite the dialog word for word) has always been Armand. I still argue Banderas was the most genius casting choice and I would love to see him return if they ever did manage to resurrect the franchise and get far enough along to make "The Vampire Armand".

I too remember seeing this on the big screen. I was underage but had waited in line for hours to see the first screening and had, in the meantime, struck up a conversation with a nice older lady behind me. I could have cried when they asked me me for ID but the nice lady was nice enough to buy me a ticket and act as guardian!

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