A consistently intelligent (or at least bright), coherently constructed comedy that is on occasion a rather pointed critique of the American education system in the…
Although one of the characters in "Interview with the Vampire" begs to be transformed into a vampire, and eagerly awaits the doom of immortality, the movie never makes vampirism look like anything but an endless sadness. That is its greatest strength. Vampires throughout movie history have often chortled as if they'd gotten away with something. But the first great vampire movie, "Nosferatu" (1922), knew better, and so does this one.
The movie is true to the detailed vision that has informed all of Anne Rice's novels, and which owes much to the greater taste for realism which has crept into modern horror fiction. It is a film about what it might really be like to be a vampire. The title sets the tone, and in the opening scenes, set in San Francisco, the 200-year-old vampire Louis de Pointe du Lac (Brad Pitt) submits to an interview by a modern journalist (Christian Slater), just as any serial killer or terrorist bomber might sit down to talk to "60 Minutes." His story begins in the late 1700s, in New Orleans, that peculiar city where even today all things seem possible, and where, after losing his wife and daughter, he threw himself into a life of grief and debauchery. His path crossed that of the vampire Lestat (Tom Cruise), who transformed him into a vampire, and ever since he has wandered the world's great cities, feeding on the blood of his victims.
The initial meeting between Louis and Lestat takes the form of a seduction; the vampire seems to be courting the younger man, and there is a strong element of homoeroticism in the way the neck is bared and the blood is engorged. Parallels between vampirism and sex, both gay and straight, are always there in all of Rice's novels; the good news is that you can indulge your lusts night after night, but the bad news is that if you stop, you die.
Tom Cruise, who initially seemed to many people an unlikely choice to play Lestat, is never less than convincing, and his slight British accent, combined with makeup that is dramatic without being obtrusive, disguises the clean-cut star - makes him seem unwholesome in an odd, insinuating way. Brad Pitt, whose role is probably larger, and who has been at home as the depraved hero of films like "Kalifornia," here seems more like an innocent, a young man who makes unwise choices, and lives (and lives, and lives) to regret them.