INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE, 1994
Journalist Daniel Malloy (Christian Slater) meets with a mysterious man called Louis de Pointe du Lac (Brad Pitt) who reveals the story of his life as a vampire and of the vampire who turned him…Lestat de Lioncourt (Tom Cruise).
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When you look at the stellar cast for this movie you almost can’t believe it’s real! Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Christian Slater, Kirsten Dunst and Antonio Banderas are all major Hollywood players. Sometimes movies with so many notable names can be a disappointment due to the hype that brews before its release, however this movie does not disappoint and is perhaps Neil Jordan’s most accomplished movie to date. The movie is filled with so many classic scenes and warrants multiple viewings like all great movies do!
The structure of the movie is well crafted; we (and Malloy) are saved all the tedious parts of Louis’ life story only being told the interesting parts. It brings to mind Hitchcock’s famous description of good drama: “Life with all the boring parts taken out!” First Louis explains the truth about “real vampires” down playing the myths about crosses etc. Pitt is magnificent here as he shows what a talented actor he is. People always fixate on his roles in Fight Club, Seven and Twelve Monkeys overlooking this performance. Pitt bravely shelves his beautiful man image for a look that makes him a walking corpse. He’s macabre, pale, sickly and yet still wonderfully charismatic. He brings us into the movie making the world of vampires so frequently visited by movies appealing once more!
The scenes showing Cruise and Pitt in playboy mode looking for potential victims is fiendishly entertaining. While drinking blood is essential to their survival, Lestat seems to choose to kill the aged widow along with her young toy boy out of a strange duty to society. Lestat explains to Louis how he can read thoughts, that the widow and her toy boy have killed her husband for his money. We pity the previous victims of Lestat and Louis but when the widow and her toy boy are killed there is a sense of justice being served. Pitt does a great job of playing the inexperienced vampire who reluctantly tries to bite the widow but gets himself into a fix with her dogs! Cruise on the other hand quite brilliantly shows how feeding is not just a necessity to Lestat but actually a sport!
Then, when Louis and Claudia conspire against Lestat things start to get deadly! While Cruise plays the proud vampire, Pitt and Dunst are vampires that are struggling deeply with their immortality. It isn’t as ideal as Lestat had promised them. Claudia will never experience womanhood and Louis must remain a prisoner in his living hell forever. This heightens the resent they feel for Lestat which is brilliantly captured in a series of episodes where they plot to destroy him. Cruise is brilliant as the archetypical monster that refuses to be killed no matter how many horrific acts of violence are bestowed upon him. By now we are rooting for Pitt’s character, who even after becoming a vampire still has his humanity and unconditional love for his child Claudia. We hope there may be an escape for him and Claudia.
Tragedy arrives when, after escaping Lestat and Claudia’s fatal exposure to sunlight; Louis is yet again all alone. Only now Louis is not a broken, grieving man, quite the opposite, as we return back to the hotel room in the present we see that Louis is at one with himself. Malloy is now begging to be bitten by him so he too can experience life as a vampire. But Pitt presents a character who is perhaps one of the few vampires in this world that refuses to bite and turn a human… and after hearing his story we understand why. But as honorable as this is, one feels slightly let down by a vampire who won’t bite! Thankfully, we are saved at the last moment by Cruise’s unsinkable rogue who is happy to oblige Malloy like he did Louis! The truth is that vampirism, while being a terrible curse, is lots of fun too!
Interview With A Vampire is a seminal film in a genre that has very recently been flooded with many versions of the vampire movie and yet still stands out as one of the best!