Interview with the Vampire (1994)

"I'm a vampire." - Brad Pitt to Christian Slater

INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE is a triumph of tone-- a masterpiece of mood
where atmosphere is everything.  Like, say, Tim Burton's BATMAN, the sum
here is more impressive than the parts.  Forget the scavenger-hunt story
and the lethargic line readings of Brad Pitt, Neil Jordan's follow-up to
THE CRYING GAME oozes with enough malice to send even the toughest talk
show host screaming.

Anne Rice adapts her 1976 novel about a pair of 18th century vampires to
questionable effect.  Her dialogue is rich, but cumbersome, and the
actors stumble through it better than they should.  Best of the bunch is
Kirsten Dunst, playing an Orleans orphan taken under the wing of the
vampires. She'll get a nomination.  Brad Pitt's a loss as Louis (Vampire
#1), but Tom Cruise is toothy fun as his amoral, arrogant mentor,
Lestat.  Too bad he disappears in the second hour, though.  His
replacement (the smoldering Antonio Banderas) barely registers as a

The hide-and-seek story doesn't explain all of what's happening
on-screen, suggesting that an earlier cut of the film was more coherent
than what's presented here.  Someone in the producer's chair probably
pruned this baby in the interest of streamlining.  INTERVIEW WITH THE
VAMPIRE feels rushed at 122 minutes and forces the viewer to extrapolate
the finer plot plots.  Not good.

Condensing the story kills most of the visceral kicks, as well.  In the
second hour, for example, there's no build-up to the fiery finale; what
should be a potent climax is little more than an amusing set piece.

Dante Ferretti's production design is a feast for the eyes; he's just
one of the many top technicians who expertly drain the life from this
story of death.  One question:  who's responsible for all the muted
dialogue?  Don't be surprised if you miss half of what's said.  (Rated
"R"/122 min.)

BOTTOM LINE:  Rushed at 122 minutes, it's still the best vampire movie
since Kathryn Bigelow's NEAR DARK.

Grade: B+

Copyright 1994 by Michael J. Legeros

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