Saturday, March 31, 2012
Interview With The Vampire
Once again we are back to where we first began: the vampire film. Now one of my first reviews was Queen Of The Damned which was luck of the draw but now here is where that saga began with Interview With The Vampire. This was the first novel in Rice's Vampire Chronicles written in 1973 but published in 1976 and I read the book long after I saw the film which I believe was on FOX as a world television premiere...remember those? Anyway back on track...Anne Rice is probably the reason why I love vampires and without her vampires such as Lestat and Louis I would probably have no attraction to vampire films. There are differences between the book and the film but literary and celluloid combining always leave things out but we will get to that. First, as always...
What's The Plot?
In modern-era San Francisco, a young reporter (Christian Slater) sits down with a man who claims to be a vampire and wishes to share his story. Intrigued, the young man listens and begins to record the story of Louis de Pointe du Lac (Brad Pitt) who wanted to die due to the loss of a family member. In New Orleans he meets with the answers to his prayers, the angelic yet devilish vampire Lestat de Lioncourt. Lestat wishes for a companion and turns Louis into a vampire but his teachings of how vampires live does not sit well with Louis...he is still too human and does not wish to feed from humans with such a lack of compassion as Lestat does.
When the two vampires are soon chased away from Louis' former slaves at his plantation, they locate to the city where Lestat takes human victims while Louis feeds from rats. One night wondering through a plague-ridden district of the city, Louis feeds from a young girl crying beside her deceased mother but runs in horror at what he did. When he returns to Lestat, he finds that he did not kill the girl but Louis watches in horror as Lestat turns the young girl into a vampire that he names Claudia and calls her both his and Louis' "daughter". Knowing that Lestat did this to keep him from running away, Louis soon relents and begins to dote on Claudia and for years, the trio become an almost well adjusted family.
Soon Claudia (Kirsten Dunst) learns that she will never gain a woman's body due to her immortality and her adult mind begins to hate Lestat for what he has done to her and to Louis by keeping both under his thumb. Being the sadistic killer thanks to her inner maturity, Claudia kills Lestat to Louis' horror but they both dispose of his body in the swamp. Lestat manages to survive this ordeal and comes after both Claudia and Louis but they escape and flee to 1870's Paris. Now in Paris thinking they are the last of their kind, Louis soon discovers a coven of vampires and their charismatic leader, the vampire Armand (Antonio Banderas). These vampires pretend to be human and kill their victims by performing in a theater as pretend vampires in very realistic "stage shows" and it is clear that Armand desires Louis' as a companion as Lestat once did. After one such performance another vampire, Santiago, makes it known to Claudia and Louis that one rule amongst vampires is clear: never kill your own kind.
With this knowledge discovered...are Claudia and Louis in danger for their murder of Lestat? Will Armand be able to tear Louis away from Claudia and have him as his own companion?
What Else Is There To Know?
Even if you have seen the film and know what happens, there is a chance someone has not seen this film or even read the book and a few details differ in the plot after what I have just discussed. I never feel good handing out spoilers because it is like giving you a hamburger when you deserve Beef Wellington: I hate to upset your palette too much.
Now when the movie came out, Anne Rice wasn't happy with Tom Cruise being cast as Lestat but she rescinded after viewing the movie herself. Now, Tom Cruise has his quirks but he turns out a good performance if you can bypass the fact that he hams up the role on occasion but after reading the book...that's just Lestat's personality. Brad Pitt as Louis was said to be an awful experience by the actor himself but this is the role that made me love Brad Pitt! Seeing as I fell in love with Angel from Buffy The Vampire Slayer, the vampire with a soul, Louis is my favorite character in the film and in the novel because of his tortured appeal and apparently since both Lestat and Armand want him he is easy to become infatuated with.
Kirsten Dunst as Claudia is another one of my favorite things about the film because she performs the role so well...and at such a young age. Even though Claudia is younger in the novel, Dunst's maturity allows her to do more in the film without feeling kind of squicked out that a little girl is doing these terrible things but you have to remember that in mind, Claudia is an adult and her actions are deliberate. I also have envied Kirsten Dunst for many years because she got to kiss Brad Pitt on those brooding lips of his but after he hooked up with Angelina Jolie I can finally forgive her...
Antonio Banderas as Armand is sexy as hell but differs from the Armand of the book look wise but his acting is superb. We don't get to see Christian Slater as reporter Daniel Molloy very much but his subtle acting differs from his usual "bad boy" roles and it is amazing. Christian was offered the role after the original choice, his friend River Phoenix, died and he donated his pay to two of Phoenix's favorite charities...this makes me kind of love Christian Slater right now.
Now given a choice between film and novel, the movie wins but the book is something I recommend you read if reading is a hobby of yours. Anne Rice brings much life to her characters and her writing style is just as enticing as watching them come to life on the big screen or even your own TV screen. If you decide to check Interview With The Vampire out of the library, get the whole slew of The Vampire Chronicles while you are at it and be amazed at Anne Rice. If the movie is more your type, take the time to give it a view.
Next Blog: You guessed it...another vampire flick!! We go back to the 80s and view another vampire classic that you are sure to sink your teeth in to...The Lost Boys