Friday, October 30, 2015

My Review of Dracula (1992)

Written by Bram Stroker And James V. Hart
Directed by Francis Ford Coppola

Dracula: "I am the monster that breathing men would kill. I am Dracula."

Like his other horror literary counterparts, Dracula has been adapted so many times and in so many ways that you could be somewhat desensitised to Bram Stoker's infamous bloodsucker, somewhat based on the sadistic Vlad the Impaler but out of all adaptations, this particular movie for me remains one of the most iconic and memorable.

Released in the early 1990s, this version of the bloodsucker is mostly faithful to Stoker's iconic novel as solicitor Jonathan Harker (Keanu Reeves) takes a business trip to Transylvania where he meets the infamous Count (Gary Oldman) and it's a struggle for him to get out of the castle and back to his beloved Mina (Winona Ryder) to whom Dracula quickly has taken an obsession to.

If you wanted the original sensual and destructive vampire/human relationship, then the Count and his pursuit of Mina is where to be. It's an interesting and deadly story as the Count makes his presence known in England and even takes delight in tormenting and changing Mina's best friend, Lucy (Sadie Frost) into a creature of the night before Mina finds herself conflicted between her relationship with Jonathan and growing feelings for the most dangerous vampire of all time.

Of course, Dracula's pursuit of Mina does however make him a target of not only a vengeful Jonathan and Lucy's suitors - Quincy, Seward and Holmwood but also the most famous of vampire hunters - Van Helsing, played with relish by Sir Anthony Hopkins as Dracula finds his stay in England and obsession with Mina coming to a rather bloody end.

In a way, it's almost lucky we got this version in the nineties because I honestly think what we've get nowadays would be so much more anemic by comparison. Oldman is utterly superb in the lead role - genuinely menacing, alluring, dangerous, cruel and tragic and Ryder herself is actually quite superb as the more innocent but smart and sympathetic Mina. Reeves does well enough as Jonathan but I do think he's overshadowed a little by the rest of his cast members at times.

- Watch the commentary for this movie. A lot of the things that Coppola says are pretty mind blowing, especially about Keanu's casting for the role of Harker.
- This was originally meant to be a television movie before Winona showed it to Coppola.
- Some of the cinematography in this movie is truly stunning - the blood red skies, the fog sequences, the snowy Transylvania towards the end.
- Other actors considered for Dracula include Colin Firth, Daniel Day-Lewis and Nicholas Cage to name a few.

There have been many adaptations of this book but for me, Coppola's Dracula is definitely the most definitive of adaptations and one that has yet to be better as well. Primarily faithful to the source material itself but adding a little more, this movie is a classic.

Rating: 9 out of 10

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