Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles
interview with the vampire | the vampire chronicles | neil jordan | anne rice | brad pitt | tom cruise | antonio banderas | vampire | vampires | based on | novel | drama | united states | kirsten dunst | thandie newton | stephen rea | virginia mccollam | mike seeling
Film: Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles
Director: Neil Jordan
Writer: Anne Rice
Starring: Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise and Antonio Banderas
This was a film that I remember watching when it first hit the movie channels back in the 90’s. This one I actually think I’ve only watched it all the way through a couple of times, but used to jump into it whenever it was on quite a few times. If it was on I’ve actually read this novel that it is based off of, as well as others from the series as well. The synopsis is a vampire tells his epic life story: love, betrayal, loneliness and hunger.
We start here with Louis (Brad Pitt) in a room with Malloy (Christian Slater). He is a writer and this is an interview that Louis wanted to do. He reveals in the first minute or so that he is a vampire. This shocks Malloy who doesn’t believe at first, but Louis shows his abilities immediately. He then starts to tell his story.
It takes us back to 1791 in Louisiana. We learn that Louis lost his wife and child during childbirth. He is a deep depression and is pretty much looking for a way to die. That brings him in contact with Lestat (Tom Cruise). He gives him what he wants, but makes him an offer of a dark gift. Louis doesn’t full understand what that means, but accepts. He is made into a vampire.
We then see Louis seek into an even greater depression as he tries to cling to his humanity. This brings him to the decision to feed on Claudia (Kirsten Dunst). Lestat decides to turn her into a vampire, who will be forever a child. Both of them grow to see the monster that Lestat is and tried to rid themselves of him. They then flee to Europe to try to find others of their kind.
They finally do in Paris, where they find vampires who are much older. One of them mimics Louis, Santiago (Stephen Rea). This leads him to Armand (Antonio Banderas), a much older vampire than Lestat. The problem is there are some rules that these vampires from America have violated and the punishment can be quite severe.
Now I wanted to go a little bit vague in my review of this film, because there is a lot here. As I stated, I read the novel and this film runs 2 hours long. The interesting thing is having the writer of the novel, Anne Rice, be the one who penned the screenplay. Something that really struck me with this viewing as well, these vampires are really what Twilight was going for and failed. Rice really envisions them to be pansexual and just in love with beauty. It is interesting that they actually downplay it here as this is a theme she revisits a lot in the novel and others as well.
An aspect of this story that I really love is taking a timeless creature like the vampire and actually show them living through different eras. This film has Louis as a slave owner. His slaves believe there is an evil spirit around them and they’re right. This causes them to lose the plantation. We see them dealing with the plague in New Orleans, which to be honest, I didn’t know it struck there. We then see them moving through Paris as well. There is interesting as the vampires that Armand and Santiago are with are decadent and being of an old world. This will move into my next point, which is why Armand falls in love with Louis.
I think that having someone as depressed as Louis is great for this story. He is of a new world. He doesn’t want to feed on the humans around him. He is clinging to his humanity, even though he’s a vampire. He isn’t of royalty like Lestat was before he was turned and he wasn’t a boy lover to the rich like Armand or a child who doesn’t understand like Claudia. He is from a world where he knows better and he is stuck in that mind-set. It would make sense he would seek out a human to tell his story to like he does.
From here, I think I should shift to the acting of the film which I think is excellent. Pitt brings enough pain his look to really bring this role to life. He does a lot with his eyes, even though they’re altered as a vampire. I could still see so much pain in them. He did a great job and you can see how good of an actor he really is. I have to say that Cruise is amazing in bringing such arrogance to Lestat. Having read other novels in the line, you realize he isn’t as bad a character as he is in this novel, which is interesting. I think from the point of view of this film, it is dead on and the performance is wonderful. Dunst is so young in this film, but her performance is great. I think after she’s been turned for some time, she somehow channels an older feeling through her character. Seeing the rage is quite believable. I do want to commend Rea, Banderas and the rest of the performances as well as they definitely round out the acting as well.
The issue I kind of have with the film is with the pacing. I think with the amount of information that is told, the runtime is fine. I never really found myself bored. The problem I think is that the story isn’t all that exciting. It is very interesting and holds your attention, but it isn’t one that really is going to captivate you. It definitely isn’t boring and I think the ending is solid overall.
To the effects of the film, I never realize that Stan Winston was behind them. I really like the look of the vampires here. When you turn, you become the most beautiful version of yourself. I like that when they’re lacking blood do they look pallid and sickly. The eyes I think are contacts, which are quite gorgeous and creepy at the same time. There is some monstrous looking moments for the vampires that I was down with. I do know there are some CGI moments in this film, but they look quite amazing. They are there when they couldn’t do practical and really just enhance the experience, which I’m good with. The film is shot beautifully as well.
Now with that said, this film is one that I found really good the first time that I saw it and it still holds up. I think there’s a lot here with some deeper meanings with it as well. I like moving through the eras through the eyes of a vampire and seeing how they survive and it changes around them. It isn’t an exciting story so keep that in mind. The acting is quite amazing though and that does carry it. The effects are really good as well, which you should expect from Winston. The soundtrack I do think fits the scenes to set the mood to the time period, but it didn’t really stand out to me on its own. Overall I say this is a really good film and definitely should be viewed by horror fans and non-horror fans alike, it really is one that grounds the vampire genre in realism.
My Rating: 8.5 out of 10