There were several reasons why I wanted to see Bram Stoker's Dracula, and after seeing the film finally I was really impressed. No seriously I was. It is not perfect, but on the whole it is very well done.
I have read Bram Stoker's book several times and love it to death, it is rich in detail, it is haunting and it is shocking. This film is not the truest film version of the book, and that's putting it mildly, but it is one of the more visually beautiful and intriguing ones. That is no way a flaw, I am not the sort of person who says if this adaptation is untrue to the book I pan it, or at least I try not to. Speaking of flaws there are two significant flaws, one is more significant than the other, that stop the film from perfection. At over two hours the film is probably a little too long. But the biggest problem is Keanu Reeves as Jonathan Harker. I know it is not old news to rag on Reeves's performance, and I will say I am not a fan of his, sure he has been in some very good films but he is nearly always one of the weaker assets which is exactly the case here. Jonathan Harker is an estate agent who is threatened by Dracula, but I found Reeves's acting far too too inept, flat and emotionless, complete with a very unimpressive accent. For instance, when he says "Oh, I'm very sorry"- Keanu I know there aren't many ways to say that phrase strictly speaking, but do actually try to sound as though you're sorry.
Flaws aside, Francis Ford Coppola's film is very, very good. It is eerie, it is romantic and it is even operatic. For one thing, it is exquisitely mounted, very grandiose in its visual approach. From the sumptuous costumes, the lovingly crafted settings, the superb make up and the basic yet atmospheric lighting complete with more sophisticated techniques it is a feast for the eyes. Another strength is the score, it was very like an opera, rich, soulful, haunting and melancholic. I also liked the script, it was poetic, it was intelligent and it was sophisticated, and the plot is coherent with some effective scenes such as Mina following Lucy into the garden when Lucy is later attacked by Dracula. And the direction is wonderful, a lot of fashioned touches are made to make this film very watchable at least once.
With the exception of Reeves, the acting is very good. Winona Ryder is an improvement certainly, she is beautiful and intense thus she becomes the object of Dracula's devastating desire. Her chemistry with Reeves wasn't quite there, but with Gary Oldman it was pretty much smouldering. Anthony Hopkins was one of the main reasons why I wanted to see this film in the first place, he is a brilliant actor, one of the best there is actually. See him in The Elephant Man, Shadowlands, Howards' End and the Remains of the Day, all wonderful films, and he is impeccable in all of them. I enjoyed him here, here he plays Dr Van Helsing, a famed doctor who dares to believe in Dracula and in the end even dares to confront him, and gives a delicious performance making the most of some inventive one-liners. Richard E.Grant, Cary Elwes and Bill Campbell all give great support, but it is Gary Oldman's towering performance as Dracula that dominates the film. An excellent, underrated actor(Immortal Beloved is just living proof of his talent),Oldman is menacing, suave, handsome, charismatic, tragic and just amazing here, his transitions from old to young and from man to beast are completely believable, in short it was one of the more interesting interpretations of Dracula. Also look out for Monica Belluci as one of Dracula's wives, she is breathtakingly beautiful, even Sadie Frost was surprisingly good as Lucy.
Overall, if you want a faithful adaptation of the book, you may be disappointed. However, if you want a visually stunning, richly scored and compelling movie this is perfect for you. Regardless of how it deviates from the book, I liked it a lot, and would definitely see it again. 8/10 Bethany Cox
Action / Drama / Fantasy / Horror / Romance
Action / Drama / Fantasy / Horror / Romance
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This version of Dracula is closely based on Bram Stoker's classic novel. Young barrister Jonathan Harker is assigned to a gloomy village in the mists of eastern Europe. He is captured and imprisoned by the undead vampire Dracula, who travels to London, inspired by a photograph of Harker's betrothed, Mina Murray. In Britain, Dracula begins a reign of seduction and terror, draining the life from Mina's closest friend, Lucy Westenra. Lucy's friends gather together to try to drive Dracula away.
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