Bram Stoker's Dracula
Film: Bram Stoker’s Dracula
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Writer: Bram Stoker and James V. Hart
Starring: Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder and Anthony Hopkins
This film begins in the 1400s. The Christian world is trying to hold back the Turks who are attacking from the Middle East. A prince from Transylvania is leading an army to stop them, he is played by Gary Oldman. His love doesn’t want him to go, she is played by Winona Ryder. Oldman is a fierce warrior and he’s ruthless. Oldman’s army defeats them, but a Turk uses a ruse to get back at him. They tell his love that Oldman has died in battle. Ryder kills herself and this causes Oldman to curse God. In return, he is cursed to being a vampire and to walk Earth for eternity, drinking blood and live in the dark.
We jump to the late 1800s. We have a young solicitor who is trying to move up in his company, he is played by Keanu Reeves. Reeves is to take over an account in Transylvania for a rich count. The man who was in charge of it has gone crazy, he is played by Tom Waits. Reeves is engaged to Ryder and they are to be married when he returns. Reeves leaves to take care of the business.
Ryder goes to visit her rich friend who is being pursued by a few suitors, her friend is played by Sadie Frost. She has quite a dirty mind and mouth. The men that are trying to marry her are a doctor at an asylum played by Richard E. Grant, a lord played by Cary Elwes and a Texan played by Billy Campbell.
Reeves goes by train and then by carriage. He is dropped off at a pass waiting for his ride to the castle. Some wolves approach him and the carriage arrives. It is drove by a scary individual. He arrives at Dracula’s castle and meets Oldman. He is very old. They go about their business. Oldman sees who Reeves’ fiancé is and we know that his reincarnated love. Oldman has bought a bunch of property around London. Reeves believes he’s going home, but Oldman has other plans.
Reeves goes about finding a way out of the castle when he runs into Oldman’s brides. They are played by Monica Bellucci, Michaela Bercu and Florina Kendrick. They begin to shower Reeves with kisses and Oldman appears, telling them that Reeves is his. When he leaves, he leaves Reeves to their pleasure.
Oldman takes a ship that becomes cursed as he drinks the blood of the crew one by one. The ship crashes in London and the ship is unloaded. Oldman immediately begins to target Frost. Frost has chosen Elwes to marry, but Oldman is using her blood to strengthen himself. He also begins to court Ryder while Reeves is gone.
Elwes panics about Frost’s deteriorating condition. Grant becomes her doctor and he decides to call in a colleague to help him, that colleague is played by Anthony Hopkins. Hopkins learns quickly that Frost’s condition is the result of a vampire. Ryder falls in love with Oldman, but when she learns that Reeves has escaped and wants her to come to Budapest to marry him, she goes.
Frost dies and Hopkins proves to Elwes, Grant and Campbell that Frost has become a vampire. After they take care of her, it is all about finding Oldman and ending him. Ryder falls for his charm and Reeves needs to save her.
Will they be able to stop Oldman before he makes Ryder his bride for the rest of time? Can they stop Oldman and put his undying soul to rest?
I want to start off saying that Francis Ford Coppola did an excellent job on this film. He stays faithful to the book and then added some elements like a deeper backstory for Dracula’s character. This is a horror film, but it also has some good elements of surrealism and romance. To be honest, it is more a tragic love story of Oldman losing his bride and trying to get her back, but it is a vampire tale as well. I think the acting is fantastic in the film. I’m usually not a Reeves fan, because I don’t think he has much range. With that said, he is perfect for the character he plays, since he is so reserved. I’m not usually a Ryder fan either, but she is good in this film. Hopkins and Oldman though are fantastic, like usual. Especially Oldman who is playing such a tragic character that is so powerful and will do what he can for what he wants.
I don’t really have much about this one I didn’t like. If this wasn’t a vampire film, I would have issues with Ryder falling in love as quickly as she does, but she is dealing with Dracula and his charm. This is a difficult story to take on and this one does very good at keeping the overall feel and theme that the novel did. Coppola even went farther with the love story angle.
I would highly recommend this one, if you’re a horror film fan or even just a fan of good acting. The story is deep and complex, the acting coupled with that makes it very enjoyable. I would say that this one is definitely worth a viewing at least once and I don’t think you’d be disappointed.
My Rating: 8 out of 10