Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Bram Stoker's Dracula

Movie Name: Bram Stoker's Dracula
Year of Release: 1992
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Stars: Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Anthony Hopkins, Keanu Reeves, Cary Elwes, Sadie Frost, Bill Campbell, Richard E. Grant, Tom Waits, Monica Bellucci, Michaela Bercu, Florina Kendrick, Jay Robinson
Genre: Horror, Romance
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 9

"Bram Stoker's Dracula" was director Francis Ford Coppola's first big hit, after the previous decade (the 80s), where he tackled wonderful films that didn't find an audience (such as "One From the Heart" and "Cotton Club" to name but a few). The film is an adaptation of the Bram Stoker's novel, and follows the story of Count Dracula, an immortal bloodthirsty creature, who was at one point a respectable and reputed nobleman who fought the Turks in the 15th century. He lost his adored wife at the time, and has since tried to discover some re-incarnation of her. When Jonathan Harker, under his employ, comes to Romania to assist him, he accidentally sets in motion the attention of this creature towards his fiancee, Mina.
Francis Ford Coppola has had a fantastic career, one filled with true and unmistakable features that are now classics ("The Godfather", "The Conversation" and "Apocalypse Now" to name but a few). "Bram Stoker's Dracula" features some of his most interesting concepts, both aesthetically and thematically. He converts the Bram Stoker's novel, from a tragic and suspense story about a supernatural creature, into a love story that crosses centuries. It's a tragedy of operatic grandeur, with the lovers separated by time and by choices that they both have made. The film benefits from great central performances (even if some are borderline overacting), from Gary Oldman, Anthony Hopkins and Winona Ryder. The cinematography from Michael Ballhaus is unforgettable, as is the stunning costumes from the late Eiko Ishioka (who justifiably won an Oscar for her work). The film works on all levels, from the more suspenseful tone that it builds upon, while simultaneously developing the chore romantic relationship of the lead characters. Visually it's equally phenomenal, with the several camera tricks the director uses, to better paint his canvas. A modern classic always worth revisiting.