Originally Published Friday 31st October 2008
Interview with the Vampire
Anyone who produces any creative piece of work like a film, or a book, or a song, or a comic, or whatever, needs to be careful with their subject matter whenever they stray from the considered norms of society. When Neil Gaiman wrote Neverwhere he said one of his concerns was about making homelessness seem cool, anyone who makes an action film or gangster film has to be careful that they don’t make that lifestyle appealing. When Ridley Scott made Black Hawk Down he set out to make an anti-war film but ended up making one of the greatest recruitment films of all time.
The vampire lifestyle has its obvious appeals, immortality, eternal youth, beauty, sensuality, strength and power, can be all too enticing for the victims in the stories and in Interview with the Vampire, we get an insight into those characteristics as well as the terrible downsides to vampirism.
As the title suggests, the film details an interview a writer is conducting with a vampire, Louis (Brad Pitt) who is telling his life story (or rather his death story as it only gets interesting once he’s a vampire). Louis was made a vampire by Lestat (Tom Cruise) a vampire hedonist in need of a companion. Louis struggles with what he has become and refuses to kill, despite the terrible bloodthirst that comes with the territory. Louis is overcome with his new state and burns down his house out of sorrow and anger.
Louis and Lestat flee to New Orleans and there Lestat kills all round him while Louis sticks to feeding off animals. One night, Louis is overcome by hunger and ends up feeding on a young girl whose mother had died of plague. Lestat seizes the opportunity this presents and makes the girl a vampire too, to provide Louis with more suitable company and to stop Louis from ever splitting on him (kinda like when some skank gets herself knocked up so as to stop the boyfriend from leaving). This plan works and Louis begins to feed on humans as he provides for his new “daughter” Claudia.
30 years pass, with none of the gang getting older. This is particularly hard on Claudia who is trapped in the body of a little girl. Things come to a head when she tricks Lestat into feeding off two dead boys, the blood of the dead being a poison of sorts to vampires. She and Louis flee and go on the search of others of their kind, always fearful that Lestat will return. Finally arriving in Paris they encounter a group of vampires pretending to be human pretending to be vampires lead by Armand (Antonio Banderas). He wants Louis to be his companion in the same way Lestat did and so turns a blind eye when the other vampires kill Claudia to get her off the scene. Disgusted, Louis murders the vampires and abandons Armand.
Louis travels the world but never encounters another vampire until his eventual return to America where he finds a decrepit Lestat hiding in a rundown house feeding off rats. Here, Louis concludes his tale leaving the reporter (Christian Slater) wanting more, desiring to be a vampire and fearful of them too… until Lestat shows up.
Despite the scene having ended, for some reason Tom was reluctant to let Brad up, not that Tom Cruise is gay or anything…
Interview is an amazing film, delighting in all that’s bad and attractive about Vampires at the same time. The little touches, like Claudia’s coffin, are what make you take notice of how horrific their life is but all the while you are assaulted with images of beauty and glamour and glimpses of a hidden world that make you wonder if it’s all that bad being a creature of the night. The only complaint I have is that while Interview talks about the loneliness of a vampires existence, it never manages to convince you that it’s all that bad, I suppose it would have made for a far more boring movie if it had.
Two Thumbs Firmly Up for Interview with the Vampire!