Vampire Movie Week: Interview with the VampirePosted: June 29, 2010
All Vampire Movie Week reviews and profiles will contain spoilers of the films.
Interview with the Vampire (1994)
Written by: Anne Rice
Starring: Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Kirsten Dunst, Antonio Banderas, Christian Slater
Synopsis: A vampire tells an intrepid reporter his undeath story. Once a well-to-do plantation owner outside New Orleans, Louis loses his wife and child in childbirth and starts down the path of Emo. For reasons unclear this attracts the attention of the vampire Lestat and he decides to “make” Louis — turn him vampire. This makes Louis even more emo. Unhappy with the damned life of the undead, Louis refuses to drink human blood, but the lack makes him a little batty. He comes upon a young girl in a plague ridden shantytown and is so far gone he can’t help but drink her blood. Lestat finds them and without Louis’ approval turns her, too, as a gift. The child, Claudia, does succeed in making Louis less emo for a while, but she has a monster temper and eventually tries to kill off Lestat for trapping her as a little girl forever. Louis and Claudia escape to France where they meet up with an enclave of ancient-and-frankly-psycho vampires led by the supposedly charismatic Armand. Armand wants Louis to be his new right hand and when he can’t secure his interest, Claudia is burned to death. Louis in turn burns down everyone. And thus we are caught up with the present, Louis, lonely and more emo than ever and Lestat, still undead and alone. Basically a return to the status quo and when the interviewer asks to become a vampire Louis realizes probably no one will ever really understand.
Review: As far as vampire literature goes Anne Rice is my go-to-girl. Interview is a good story; the movie loses a little something in translation. There’s a lot to tell, a lot of time to cover, it’s a big sweeping story and gets bogged down sometimes. In our screening, the tween girl watching found it hard to follow and the twentysomething guy left halfway in siting boredom. The performances have been controversial since the cast was first announced (a neat trick, hating someone in a role before they do it, but all too common, too). Antonio is wooden as Armand and everyone else outside of the main threesome are forgettable, which is appropriate, actually. Kirsten Dunst is a perfect terror as Claudia and preternaturally pretty, she has a career now because she was so good then. I like Brad Pitt in roles such as this — alongside Meet Joe Black and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and even Fight Club — he is heightened, inhuman, but it is on purpose. It’s right.
And then there is Tom Cruise. I remember the fracas about Tom in this flick. He was considered to be too much of a lightweight, a marquee idol, he didn’t have the necessary gravitas for the role. He was just a “pretty boy”. This is a bit hilarious now that Robert Pattinson represents vampire to many (and what gravitas does this role actually have anyway?). But I like Tom’s Lestat fine. He’s kinda quirky fun. Maybe it’s because I saw KNIGHT AND DAY over the weekend. Now that is a movie well worth seeing for free. If Cameron Diaz was played by Ashley Judd I’d be okay paying — which is to say, Tom Cruise is good in it. It’s a silly, cute spy movie with lots of explosions and car chases and exotic locales and I liked it. And on that level, taking Interview as a film I watched to celebrate vampires and vampire movies, I liked it, too.
Vampires: Anne Rice vampires are vampires of legend. They drink blood, sleep in coffins, and burn in the sun. Their cells regenerate from any non-sun-and-fire-inflicted wounds. The best example of this is when Claudia cuts off her doll-like curls in a rage and they immediately grow back.
And the cutest bit is when Claudia creeps into Louis’ coffin in the middle of the day. Awww.
Fashion: This almost deserves its own post. I mean look:
Brad looks like he’s wearing an old Alien Attack game for one of the first Macs way back when. And the hair + boots + jackets … I mean LOOK.
So, I’ll be brief and say — in terms of fashion, I love this time period and I love New Orleans and I love France.
Bottom Line: For a 15 year old vampire romance, it stands up. Will Twilight?