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Bram Stoker's Dracula

Francis Ford Coppola's 1992 film adaptation of Bram Stoker's classic novel, reinterpeted as a Gothic romance.

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I have crossed oceans of time...

  • Jul 7, 2001
  • by
This is a fascinating movie, but not just for the reasons Coppola might have intended. It's a lushly shot, beautifully staged affair, oozing over-ripe, autumnal colours in obvious counterpoint to cool blues and bloodless hues asociated the cast of vampires. It is outwardly a fairly faithful rendering of Bram Stoker's novel, but in pretty much every other respect it puts a novel spin on the well worn story.

For one thing, it's not very scary; any horror is supplanted by the decadence and sexuality of the film. Coppola doesn't seem to care less about frightening the viewers; he seems much more interested devloping themes: for example, people and things spend A LOT of the film falling, and climbing back up again (I suppose this is sin and redemption) and there is a real feel of decadence and over-ripeness throughout. But it's never any more focussed than that - It's not clear exactly what he's getting at, other than just inverting the conventional wisdom.

The treatment of the good count is unusual; there's more than a sense that he's the victim in all of this - he's pegged out as having lost true love in tragic cirucmstances which, by operation of dastardly Christian law, inevitably pitted him against God and, by implication, the Great & Good.

But the film isn't consistent about this - on one hand Dracule is painted as a noble warrior defeating the (decadent) hoardes and re-taking Constantinople and cruelly being deprived of his one love, but then later, according to Van Helsing, he's Vlad the Impaler, who ritually murdered defenceless prisoners and drank their blood.

In any case the vamps definitely have the most fun: Gary Oldman has a whale of a time in the various iterations of the Dracula character (his Transylvanian accent is priceless) and Sadie Frost is sex on a stick as the doomed Lucy. Good guy Keanu Reeves, on the other hand, is as dreadful as you would expect - the man can't act, and his English accent, when he manages to hold it together, is surely one of the worst to ever have graced celluloid.

I don't think Coppola succeeds in making any grand statements, though he certainly tries. But the film works at pure entertainment level, so it doesn't really matter.

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October 18, 2010
Tom Waits was excellent in this, great review.
More Bram Stoker's Dracula reviews
Quick Tip by . February 21, 2010
my favorite
review by . December 23, 2008
Francis Ford Coppola's 1992 film, Bram Stoker's Dracula, is a lavish, visually stunning treatment of the Dracula tale. The film features exquisite production design, startling special effects, and one of the best film scores that I've heard in a long time. But the film, which had so much potential, is deeply flawed. Altogether Bram Stoker's Dracula suffers from an excessive amount of visual stimuli, which takes priority over characterization and acting. Much of the cast gives either flat, unconvincing …
review by . October 26, 2008
Bram Stoker's Dracula
In an exercise of cosmic madness, the essence of vampire lore is born with Count Dracula and his centuries-long yearning for the deceased Mina, an erotic love story lost in a netherworld of dreamless musings.   In this sensual feast of images, saturated with thick, red blood, an epic struggle is waged, a battle for eternity. Count Dracula purchases real estate in Victorian London, transferring crates of Transylvanian earth, where he will rest by day, pursuing the reincarnated Mina (Winona …
review by . November 08, 2004
posted in Movie Hype
I was a junior in high school when this film first came out. I went with one of my friends on one of the coldest Louisiana evenings of that year. That cold atmosphere, along with the dark, damp and aging cinema that I saw the film in made "Bram Stoker's Dracula" one of my favorite films of all time. It's been awhile since I read the book, but I think the film follows the pages of Stoker's novel reasonably close, with a couple of adjustments in characters and in sequences(as is the usual for books-to-the-big-screen) …
review by . August 31, 2000
Pros: a pleasant retelling of his oldie     Cons: ..     THE PLAYERS:   Dracul - Gary Oldman   Elisabeta/Mina - Winona Ryder   Jonathan Harker - Keanu Reeves   Van Helsing - Anthony Hopkins      In a twist to this timeless tale, we are finally given a peek into the background and lifestyle of Count Dracul, played remarkably well by Gary Oldman. In his life (former life, first life?) Dracul is the …
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Olly Buxton ()
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Member Since: Sep 26, 2009
Last Login: Dec 22, 2010 09:37 PM UTC
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