Dir. Francis Ford Coppola
Reviewer. Dan Cook
A modern classic among the vampire subgenre, Francis Ford Coppola’s lavish 1992 adaptation of Stoker’s blood-sucking literary masterpiece is a valiant attempt to correct the wrongs of the nearly 2 decades of prior filmmaking which didn’t exactly treat the Prince of Darkness with a great deal of respect.
Rather than exhibiting the dark, gothic tones of earlier ‘Dracula’s, Coppola’s picture is instead staged as a tragic romance across the ages, a haunting tale of unrequited love which attempts to give a humanity to the inhuman vampire while also maintaining the violence and gore one would expect from an 18 rated Dracula film.
At the centre of the overblown melodrama all is Gary Oldman who delivers one of his most iconic performances to date as the dread Count. Deftly flipping between the amorous top-hat donning gentlemen of many a certain ladies dreams to an animalistic, almost rabid demon of the night from scene to scene, Oldman is terrific and manages to work through the pounds of makeup and costumery applied to him throughout the movie with charisma and ease. Great too are Winona Ryder and Anthony Hopkins as Mina, the object of Dracula’s hopeless affections and the tenacious, if not highly eccentric Dr. Van Helsing respectively.
Unfortunately, this trio of performances are the standouts amongst a sizeable but pretty bland cast including Richard E. Grant, Cary Elwes, Sadie Frost and a notoriously bad Keanu Reeves, all of whom are completely overshadowed by the glorious costume designs, incredible sets, Wojchiech Kilar’s droning orchestrations and of course the talents of their aforementioned co-stars.
Still, for all of its operatic pomp and a notable disparity between performances, BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA is a beautiful looking and wonderful sounding horror epic that may not rank among my favourite adaptations of the novel but is undoubtedly one of the most impressive.