|Directed by:||Francis Ford Coppola|
|Written by:||Bram Stoker, James V. Hart|
|Cast:||Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Anthony Hopkins, Keanu Reeves|
|Genre:||Period Horror, Romance,|
Let me start with saying that this is one of my all time favorite vampire movies. And before you ask, yes I prefer this over the 1931 Dracula film as well. I will have to re watch the original and then review that one as well one day. But this review isn't about that film, it's about the 1992 film directed by Francis Ford Coppola, and what a film that is.
Lately I've been finding my self drawn to Gothic horror films that take place in older times (Interview with a Vampire is another film I've had a knack for lately). This film is beautifully shot and has a morbid gothic feel to it. I'm watching this film again right now, and I'm especially wooed by the weirdness factor that this film has going on. One of my favorite scenes in the film is when Harker is in the castle alone with Dracula and he cuts himself shaving and the title character takes the razor licks the blood. This scene along with many others enticed me.
I also loved the way they dealt with sexuality. It was both gratuitous but classy at the same time. I don't know how to describe it, but it really worked for the film. (Straight men will love the scene with Monica Bellucci as a naked bride). The violence was also on display. It wasn't overdone but it helped the film along. I loved the way Coppola handled all of these aspects. He added a certain grace to it.
The soundtrack was loud and gothic and worked for me and complimented the film perfectly and drew me more into this somber and creepy film.
But the most important is the character of Dracula himself. The film could've either been made or broken with a bad casting decision. Thankfully they casted a brilliant Gary Oldman in the role. I'm a BIG fan of this man's work and he is a favorite of mine, so it's nice to see him in a starring role. He blew the role out of the water. He humanized the character of Dracula without taking away his creepiness. The man is sympathetic but is still scary as fuck. He is enticing (my new favorite word) and deadly. He is sad and lonely and heartbroken but has a thirst for blood. Oldman really blew each facet of his character out of the park.
Which brings me to the other characters. This was one of my bigger flaws with the original film. Other than Dracula I didn't care much for the other characters. In this film, they casted a great Winona Ryder as Mina. She was beautiful and innocent as the lovely creature that Dracula has his eyes set on. I ADORED the subplot between Dracula and Mina. It was the heart of the film for me. She was drawn to him and scared of him at the same time. The other actor that stole the show was Anthony Hopkins. He has limited screen time as the legendary Van Helsing, but with what he got he really worked. Sadie Frost as Lucy also worked very well. At first I thought I was going to find her annoying, but she grew on me, and by the end I actually was feeling for her character. I also loved her three suitors.
Then we have Keanu Reeves...Honestly I'm not a fan. Sometimes he's good, sometimes he's not. He was OKAY in this film. He was definitely the weak link of the cast in my eyes. He just didn't have any charisma and didn't pull me into the part. I feel they could've casted someone better suited for the role. He didn't have much chemistry with Ryder and their love story (in general) didn't pull me in very much. But that one is more of a fault of the script. I actually felt MORE for the love between Dracula and Mina. They had more chemistry and I actually cared more for them then I did for Mina and Jonathan. My final nitpick is just that; it actually annoyed me how the vampires in this film can walk in the sunlight. It's no biggie, because they're still scary blood-thirsty monsters, but I prefer my vampires to burst into flames in sunlight. At least they don't sparkle...
But overall, I adore this film and almost everything about it. It's a brilliant film in my opinion and one of the best vampire films out there.