Interview with the Vampire should have been a good movie. It's directed by Neil Jordan, of the fabulous Crying Game. Its screenplay was written by Anne Rice, based on her own book. Despite initial misgivings, they cast Tom Cruise as Lestat and he does an amazing job. He perfectly realizes the sensuousness and slightly ridiculous fopishness of Lestat, only rarely letting his famous "Tom Cruise character" peek through. Kirsten Dunst, in one of her first big-screen roles, does the impossible with Claudia, walking the fine line of her paradoxical existence as both child and old soul. Brad Pitt, as Louis, has the soft, vulnerable beauty of the sensitive, guilt-ridden vampire. As I said, it should have been a good movie.
The story has become classic vampire literature. A grief-ridden 18th century plantation master, Louis, lives dangerously, in some half-conscious hope of dying. Lestat, a vampire, gives Louis the Dark Gift of vampirism, making him immortal. Louis, however, has some human misgivings about taking life, something Lestat refuses to understand. During there time together, they "make" another vampire, a child named Claudia, and live in luxury in the French Quarter of New Orleans. In double-crossing Lestat, Claudia and Louis unwittingly seal Claudia's fate and put Louis on the path to knowledge he's longed for since becoming a vampire.
I enjoyed the book. It is said that Rice missed the mark in making Louis the main character, correcting herself in the second book by putting Lestat in the forefront. I think Louis, in more capable hands, could have made a much better impression on-screen that he did on the page. Unfortunately, they seem to have cast Louis on the basis of beauty, not talent. Pitt seems either incapable or unwilling to purge the 20th century out of his voice. His delivery is stilted, his speech too deliberate. The performances by Dunst and Cruise aren't enough to save the day.
Both audio and video are okay; not bad, not spectacular. This was kind of disappointing. One of Rice's main tenets of vampirism is the spectacular vampire vision. This beauty came across much more clearly on the big screen. You'd think they would have done a little more to showcase it on the DVD. As far as accidental shots of the boom mike go, there were some in the original video version, but I didn't find any on the DVD. At least they gave us that much.
There are virtually no extras on this disc. There are brief cast bios and filmographies and that's it. Such a rip-off! I would have liked audio commentaries by director Neil Jordan and writer Anne Rice at the very least. Some background on the books would have been a nice bonus, too. Overall a very disappointing disc, not worthy of medium. More recently Warner Brothers released an enhanced version that includes behind-the-scenes footage, audio commentary, documentaries, theatrical trailer, production notes, and interviews.
Lisa McInnis, 7/27/00