Transferring Anne Rice's trend setting and intense novel "Interview With The Vampire" to film must have been a daunting task. Trying to fit in all of the social commentary, mythos, and agony of that book into 2 hours of screen time that makes any sort of logical sense was an intense work out for everyone involved I'm sure. Luckily, Anne Rice herself screen wrote for it and under the direction of Neil Jordan with its stellar cast, they pull it off damn near brilliantly. "Interview With The Vampire" comes off as one of the best vampire films yet crafted.
Louis (Pitt) was done with his life. After losing some family in the late 1700s, he goes on a death wish. He is swayed to convert his life to that of the undead by a rogue vampire Lestat (Cruise) who proceeds to teach him the how to survive and continue 'living' as the undead. Louis fights his new vampiric urges but Lestat refuses to let Louis go and tries his best to keep his new found brother in death even to the point of turning a young girl (Dunst) into a vampire 'daughter' to keep him there. Soon the two creations of Lestat find themselves struggling against their maker and what they are. Can they find a way to free themselves from the bondage of being vampires or shall they go on in world feeding off of the living?
With a great and well paced script that Anne Rice must have had headaches over figuring out what to cut and what to leave for the film, "Interview With The Vampire" flows like an art house film bursting with both brutality and beauty in all of its Gothic mysticism. Neil Jordan (whose previous Horror/symbolic picture "The Company Of Wolves" was also stunning) tackles the Gothic atmosphere and primitive beauty of the different ages and the struggles of Rice's vampires in perfect form. He never lets up from brash moments of violence to the subtlety of the language through the entire picture. Its his blend of visual prowess and Rice's writing that truly spark some chemistry in the film and make it the modern classic that it is.
Of course, having such a talented cast at the helm doesn't hurt either. Pitt's heart heavy portable of our hero-esque Louis comes full circle for the audience and Cruise's cold and calculated (yet deep and sorrowful) take on Lestat could never be touched again - even by Cruise himself as he stated later on. These two work brilliantly together and a rather young but striking Dunst as Claudia would make the rest of her rather already too long career look like hogwash compared to this role. Not to mention a stellar supporting cast of Antonio Banderas, Christian Slater, and Stephen Rea and this film has a cast that ably handles the deep and roving characters with relative ease despite the heavy task of doing so. They round out the stellar production and behind the scenes film work nicely.
The film can be rather too subtle and artsy for people looking for your average modern vampire flick, but if you happen to keep an open mind, your thinking cap on at full capacity, and let the characters sweep you into a whole other world then "Interview With The Vampire" will likely hook you deep. It holds its own even against Rice's novel (which might I add is one of the best novels I have ever had the pleasure of reading) and creates a universally substantial film that will easily find its way into the classics section quickly.
Written By Matt Reifschneider