Interview with the Vampire

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(1994) ★★★

Sky Movies Greats: Sunday 26 July, 10.20pm

Green-eyed Brad Pitt grants an audience with journalist Christian Slater. Dismissing Bram Stoker’s Dracula as ‘the vulgar fictions of a demented Irishman’, Pitt recounts his 200-year career as a vampire in thrall to his creator. That’s Tom Cruise as the vampire Lestat, long of mane and big of teeth. With his reedy voice and silver thimble, he’s more vamp than vampire, and author Anne Rice publicly denounced the casting of Cruise (she had originally envisioned Rutger Hauer in the role but backtracked on seeing the completed film). It’s true that Cruise was placed on an elevated platform during some scenes but spiteful ‘tom thumb’ remarks are a little ingenuous. And selective. Humphrey Bogart was 5ft 8in. At 5ft 7in, Cruise is the same height as Al Pacino, Ben Stiller, and Christian Slater (a hasty replacement for ill-fated River Phoenix, who died of a drugs overdose early in filming). Dedicated to Phoenix, Neil Jordan’s opulent fantasy is fabulous to look at, gaudy and graphic though rarely frightening. It’s almost poignant, in a perverse way. Both Brad and Tom are painfully aware of their damnation, in a marriage made in hell. Embodied by Stephen Rea’s decadent and malevolent Santiago, the humour is sour in a film that’s largely an improvement on Rice’s ponderous bestseller. A book that’s as synthetic as the lame Guns N’ Roses cover version of Sympathy for the Devil that closes the film. Director Jordan returned to stylised romantic vampirism with Byzantium which, for all its failings, is preferable to the next film adapted from Rice’s Vampire Chronicles: 2002’s Queen of the Damned (TCM, Monday, 10.40pm) in which Lestat is resurrected as Goth rocker Stuart Townsend. This is just as awful as it sounds. In a spooky echo of Interview, Lestat’s evil-queen rival Aaliyah (the soulful singer who made her acting debut in Romeo Must Die) died in a light aircraft crash during filming. She was 22. The film is dedicated to her.

Certificate: 18

Duration: 123min

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Other Showings Time & Date
Sky Movies Greats Monday, 27 July at 3:25AM
Sky Movies Greats Friday, 31 July at 1:00AM
Sky Movies Greats Saturday, 1 August at 10:00PM
Sky Movies Greats Wednesday, 5 August at 12:00AM