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With: Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Kirsten Dunst, Stephen Rea, Antonio Banderas, Christian Slater, Thandie Newton
Written by: Anne Rice, based on her novel
Directed by: Neil Jordan
MPAA Rating: R for vampire violence and gore, and for sexuality
Running Time: 123
Date: 11/11/1994

Interview with the Vampire (1994)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Screams and Rice

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Movies based on extremely popular books always face a great deal of scrutiny. Most of the people that see Interview with the Vampire, based on the novel by Anne Rice, are going to have their own ideas about casting, script, etc. But given that this is basically a Reader's Digest condensed version, the movie does a pretty good sweep job. We get the basic idea, and we get some nice thrills and some good scenes besides.

Tom Cruise does a commendable job in the L'estat role, which takes up less than half the movie, and 11 year-old Kirsten Dunst is marvelous as an adult vampire trapped in the immortal body of a child (she really seems to possess an adult wisdom). But the real surprise here is that Brad Pitt is given such a bland character to play; he just can't flesh it out. And Stephen Rea does practically nothing, surprising, given his great performance in the lead role of director Neil Jordan's last film, The Crying Game.

Still Jordan was a good choice for the material. He has a terrific, moody style that suits it. He doesn't shy away from certain, potentially controversial topics, and he has trod upon this type of supernatural material before in his own (and superior) The Company of Wolves. One nice touch: Pitt's character spends most of the twentieth century in the dark -- watching movies. At the 11th hour, Christian Slater replaced the late River Phoenix as "the interviewer," and reportedly donated his paycheck to one of Phoenix's favorite charities.

The Interview with the Vampire novel was the first in a series called the "Vampire Chronicles." For some reason, the second book in the series was skipped over, and the third one was filmed as Queen of the Damned. It has very little to do with this movie.

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