ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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Interview with the Vampire (1994)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Neil Jordan

Starring:
Tom Cruise/Lestat
Brad Pitt/Louis
Kirsten Dunst/Armand
PLOT-CRUNCH
In present-day San Francisco, creature of the night Louis (Pitt), tells his story to a fascinated interviewer (Slater). His tale takes us to 1791 Louisiana, where we witness his vamp birth to the arrogant Lestat (Cruise), and ultimately unravels to the present day. According to this flick, it really sucks to be a vampire!
THE LOWDOWN
"Most of all, I longed for death. I know that now. I invited it"-- Louis

Having loved the Anne Rice book “Interview With The Vampire” on which this movie is based, I came into this sucker with expectations the size of Jennifer Love Hewitt’s tits. Thankfully, I came out of it with a smile on my face and a lust for a Bloody Mary (and I don’t mean the drink).

This cinematic adaptation of the character-driven book captures its spirit victoriously. On a character level, Brad Pitt (Louis) does an admirable job as the conscience-ridden vampire, I was with him the whole way. But the big surprise is Tom Cruise (Lestat)! His casting was somewhat controversial at the time (Anne Rice bitched about it initially as well) but he manages to tap into the spirit of Lestat to deliver a captivating show. I actually forgot that it was Tom Cruise! I guess he did something right. As for Kirsten Dunst (Claudia), she’s a revelation as the eager child bloodsucker, stealing scenes from her two more experienced co-stars constantly.

Setting-wise, this film is morbidly gorgeous. The sets, the costumes, the photography, all detailed and very impressive. There’s a beautiful smell of dread that floats about this picture. This is, by far, one of the more stunning horror films that I’ve seen in a while. When it comes to substance, this film has a lot to say as well. There’s a beautiful love story in there (Louis and Claudia) and I found it fascinating to see the world through a vampire's eyes. What made it even more interesting was the fact that Louis just couldn’t let go of his human side. How’s that for a conflict of interest? Remember "The Lost Boys" tag line? “Sleep all day, party all night, it's fun to be a vampire”? Well, for Louis...that statement doesn’t apply. I have never seen such an unhappy vampire and his disposition brought with it deep themes of loss, betrayal and guilt.

The sexual aspects of the film aren’t as colorful as in the book. In the Anne Rice books, the Vampires are asexual. Here, I didn’t sense the ambiguity. The male vampires felt more like homosexual men. Sure, they dig the occasional female or little kid (sick, but the film portrays the kiddie stuff with restraint) but the real lust in the film is between the men (Lestat and Louis, Armand and Louis). Fortunately, having the vamps be mostly homosexual didn’t take away from the story. Love is love, lust is lust and whatever sex it's for, the subtext still came across. While we’re on the sex thang, I’d like to give props to the film for making the bloodsucking seem pleasurable and erotic. Vampirism has always been a metaphor for sexual intercourse and total surrender but rare are the films that manage to convey those layers properly. If there’s one vampire film that comes the closest, it’s this one.

I do have some pet peeves with the film though. Mostly in respect to its second half. Compared to the evenly paced and substance-filled first half, it feels a tad rushed. The chain of events happens too fast! This flick should’ve been a 3-hour movie in order to fully convey the whole of the storyline. Another minus is that Lestat’s presence is mostly absent from the film’s second half. He is a crucial character and I didn’t dig how the movie dropped him. He should’ve been in Paris! When we finally do see Lestat again near the end, it felt awkward because we don’t know what lead him there. Why is he still messed up after all that time? I thought that vampires healed fairly fast. What the fuck has he been doing for all these years? How can he not know what a helicopter is but be able to drive a car like nobody’s business?

Also the final exchange between Louis and Lestat is way too short. I’m sure Louis would have all kinds of questions after all those years? I sure did! It should’ve gone further. One last thing, it’s established early on that the vampires can fly. Why didn’t the film take more time with that aspect? It’s barely touched upon and eventually gives way to one minor plot hole: why didn’t Claudia give that fence in the tunnel a shot! She gave up too fast! I had to get that off my chest.

But on a whole, “Interview With The Vampire” is a gripping, gorgeous, deep, at times brutal, wickedly funny and erotic film. It’s the “Gone With The Wind” of horror movies and even though its tale is about vampires, the themes brought up are all so human. Yes, this movie is also about us. Sink your teeth in this!
GORE
This baby doesn’t hold back. We get some messy blood sucking, wrist slittings, slit throat, snapped neck, groovy burnt makeup and sucked-on poodles and rats.
ACTING
Tom Cruise (Lestat) sold me...he can act! Sure, he does stumble a few times with his delivery, but overall he manages to capture the decadence, loneliness, cockiness and arrogance of the well-loved Lestat character. I do think that he was a tad too old for the part though but I still enjoyed the man’s show. Brad Pitt ( Louis) is perfect casting as the eternally depressed vampire. He handles his dialogue and emotional moments well. Kirsten Dunst (Claudia) handles her part’s evolution like a trooper and actually steals many scenes from her co-stars. Antonio Banderas (Armand) does fine as the longing vampire. But does he always have to stretch his lines so much? Christian Slater (Interviewer) brings his charisma to the part and elevates it to a higher level.
T & A
A naked girl singing in a window and cleavage heavy gals. Gotta love those 17th century outfits. Brad Pitt goes shirtless…ladies applaud.
DIRECTING
You know the feeling you get when you walk through a cemetery? Well, this picture is filled with that same vibe. On a technical level, Jordan is on top of this Gothic piece of art in motion while at the same time never letting the directing get in the way of the story. It actually adds to it with its subtlety. Tag that with the brilliant set designs, costumes and cinematography, and you get a visual gem. NOTE: I did notice one bad editing cut when a certain somebody leapt behind another certain somebody before getting cut in half. Also the CGI flames during the house fire look pretty lousy.
SOUNDTRACK
The score by Elliot Goldenthal is exceptional. It brings so much to the images and is all mood. We also get Guns 'N Roses' last ever recorded song, a retake on the Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy For The Devil”.
BOTTOM LINE
I loved the book and loved the movie! I can’t say that I’ve stated that often in my life. I’m happy that the setting, the costumes and the atmosphere of the book survived their transition to celluloid. But even more importantly, the engaging characters and the themes brought up in the book also transcended quite well to this cinematic adaptation. Loss, love, guilt, and betrayal…it sucks to be a vampire and it sucks to be human.
BULL'S EYE
Anne Rice wrote the part of Lestat with Rutger Hauer in mind ("The Hitcher").

River Phoenix was originally cast as the interviewer but died before shooting began.

Anne Rice also wrote the screenplay for the film.
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