Rated “R” for Nudity, Blood, Violence, and Gore
Directed By: Neil Jordan
Written By: Anne Rice
Based On The Novel By: Anne Rice
Staring: Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Kirsten Dunst, Antonio Banderas, Christian Slater, Stephen Rae, and Thandie Newton
Aux contraire mon cher, he could eat the whole colony. -Lestat de Lioncourt
What made this movie so amazing was a perfect cast, but also the adapted screenplay by Anne Rice herself. Taking her own masterpiece and working it into a dark vampire movie unlike any that had been made before it. The story is motivated by Louis’s inner conflict. He has the cravings of a killer, and yet the conscience of a man. Refusing to let go of his humanity and acknowledging all that he truly is and once was, is Louis’s source of strength and yet simultaneously his weakness.
After existing over two hundred years as a vampire, Louis de Point du Lac seeks out a journalist and wants to share his journey of loneliness. It began in his youth when he had just lost his wife and child. At the young age of twenty four he seeks out his own death, no longer desiring the things a normal human would. In his despair he is sought out by a creature of supernatural existence. Lestat de Lioncourt begins to love Louis and wants to make him his vampire companion. Lestat presents Louis with his offer of immortality, giving him the choice he never had. In his shock Louis lets Lestat make him a creature of the night and together they exploit the city of New Orleans, but it isn’t long before their unnatural behavior is noticed and the locals realize they are not what they seem. In Louis’s remorse and depression, Lestat tries to help Louis in a desperate attempt and together they make Claudia, the beautiful doll like child, a vampire as well. After twenty years inside a child’s body, with the mind of a grown woman and killer, Claudia falls into a sort of dementia and everything begins to fall apart.
The story is told in the same methodical manner as Rice’s novel version. The inner turmoil of Louis’s conflict is so desperate and yet so tangible. Tangled into the mix with the gleeful and maddening Lestat who revels in everything he is, Louis finally understands he is not just a companion to Lestat, he is his own obsession. When Louis realizes Lestat’s real affection is for Louis’s humanity and not Louis himself, he and the child vampire Claudia leave the America’s and head to Europe in search of other vampires like them. Now Louis has Lestat’s demise to wallow over as well, and together he and Claudia are the perfect couple of lamentable despair.
Being a time piece, the costumes of this film are elegant and beautiful. With the lovely colors and attention to detail in paintings and decorations, the cinematography is stunning in itself. The visuals of this film are just as beautiful as the tormented tale is. In the novel it’s always touched on how beautiful each of these vampires are, yet their pale skin and magnificent eyes are clear indications they are not human but immortal beings. The makeup of the vampires was exquisite, revealing the paleness and unearthly eyes, yet making them look human enough to pass in society. Anne Rice’s creation is truly brought to life. There is no question you feel as though you have stumbled into a dark world of beauty and misery.
Unlike other stories, the vampires of this tale are not mindless, blood thirsty creatures that are victims of their unfavorable fortune. They are thinking, intelligent beings, that are far beyond the comprehension of humanity. What they are is their own superior race that while in the world of humans, they are not part of it. The intelligent race they are makes this ideal of a vampire very different than any other movie interpretation before it.
This was an enormous break out role for Brad Pitt, who actually won the part due to Tom Cruise challenging Anne Rice who said he could never play the role of Lestat, and so the role of Louis was given to Pitt, who captured the suffering, lamentable existence of Louis in a way so profound and so tangible he seemed to have even more humanity than humans themselves. With the brilliant chemistry he had with Cruise who played my hero Lestat with all the charisma, the sense of humor, the sarcasm, and the delicious hedonistic pleasure anyone could imagine to every degree of hope I ever had. Cruise is Lestat, and no one, including Mr. Townsend could ever capture his spirit the way Cruise did. In fact, this is a role I would have deemed Oscar worthy Cruise played it so powerfully and brilliantly. I can’t speak highly enough of his performance. The child vampire played by a very young Kirsten Dunst was an amazing preview for the now very successful actress. Playing off the powerful duo of Pitt and Cruise was no easy task, but this little girl commanded the screen each time she was on it. It made for a blissful trio of acting, and while the script was amazing, it was a success because of these three actors.
This is a very adult oriented film for viewers in their late teens and up. I would recommend this film to anyone who loves Anne Rice, it pays such a beautiful homage to her genius of the written word. Even if you’re not a fan of her novels this movie is worth a couple hours just to watch one of the greatest character’s of all time being visualized so perfectly with Cruise as Lestat. This epic tale of loneliness, regret, and accepting the gamble of life is a story like none other told, and it’s a vampire film like you’ve never seen before. The brutality of them and the beauty of them is a most enjoyable paradox.