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This was one of the films that concluded Film 4's "Frightfest" season, so I decided to watch it, considering it's a quite a famous and star studded adaptation of the most famous tales of the monstrous fiends that feed on the blood of the living... it's Francis Ford Coppola's 1992 take on Dracula!

The plot follows Jonathan Harker (Keanu Reeves) as he travels to Transylvania in order to meet a peculiar and mysterious nobleman, named Count Dracula, who believes that Harker's fiance, Mina (Winona Ryder) is the reincarnated embodiment of his only love, which causes him to undertake extreme procedures.

The acting, on the whole, was terrific, but you'd expect nothing less from such prominent actors such as Anthony Hopkins and Winona Ryder (who contacted Coppola to adapt the novel, after apparently feeling guilty after hastily dropping out of The Godfather Part III). Ryder manages to portray innocent qualities associated with a character of Mina's ilk, yet she managed to just as accurately portray more sinister qualities during moments in which she under the command of Dracula. Speaking of him, I adored Gary Oldman in this role, he was utterly magnificent and his accent could have fooled me into thinking he was a native Romanian, yet he was very enigmatic and even charismatic, and any scene involving even an utterance of Mina's name provoked his finest acting. Yet that was probably due to my own personal tastes, because even though romance is probably my least favourite genre, when it's done right, I often fall in love with the film, and this was a sort of an example of that. Although, as we all know, the story between Mina and Dracula is complex to say the least.
Also, Sadie Frost was really good too, she portrays Lucy better than anyone else I've seen act out the same role, and I believe she, along with Oldman, definitely deserved a lot more recognition.

I thought the writing was really good here. I've read the novel, and although this will probably be quite controversial, I wasn't that big a fan of it, some excerpts were terrific like Harker's first experiences with the castle, but after that, I found it hard to keep going. Yet this film always remains interesting, with totally unexpected dialogue for such a period in times (i.e. young aristocrats talking so bluntly about sexuality), and new elements that really do shock (THAT bestiality moment), created something that felt quite refreshing whilst also remaining very faithful to Stoker's creation. It did have its downfalls though.

The costumes on display here were also terrific that truly reflected the elegance and extravagance of the European nobility within this time frame. The colours also acted as subtle metaphors too, reflecting the tone of whatever was about to unfold. Eiko Ishioka truly deserved to obtain the Oscar for best costume design!

Roman Coppola also deserves credit for achieving effects that were, at the time, thought to be impossible without employing CGI to achieve Francis' desired effects. I don't know the more intricate effects that were used within in the film, and I do apologise that I can't really elaborate, all I know is that he achieved something spectacular considering the amount of limitations forced upon him.


Keanu Reeves.

There were also several actors who were pretty satisfactory, Anthony Hopkins included, and it's not hard to understand why Lucy didn't some of her suitors. Therefore, when some of them do perish, I just didn't care less, because they didn't make me care about them in the slightest. But a combination of a minimal amount of dialogue to use, and sharing the screen with an abundance of characters definitely didn't do them a whole lot of favours either.

The film also felt a bit too over dramatic, and almost theatrical in parts, especially towards the end, that I felt wasn't exactly rushed, but was inconsistent in regards to the pacing. In other words, I was quite bored by the end, and I wasn't disappointed it was over really. Nevertheless, details such as liquids dripping upwards, and shadows moving all on their own were touches I thought were magnificently creative, that emphasise the bizarre yet unsettling nature of Dracula.

Nevertheless, considering how supremely talented Coppola is, this was quite far from his best work, but then when you make The Godfather pretty much anything is going to pale in comparison. Additionally, I feel as though I can't give the writers too much credit, because this ultimately falls down to Bram Stoker.

Also, I always loved the brides of Dracula, considering this was written before the feminist movement gained serious momentum, these women are empowered and they always fascinated me. I wanted to see them developed and become more prominent in this adaptation... but they weren't. Instead, all they did was molest Keanu Reeves and unleash their boobs at any possible opportunity. Interestingly, I saw La Reine Margot not that long before watching this, and I genuinely believed Isabelle Adjani was one of the brides before I looked more carefully, and found it was Monica Belluci! In one of her first acting roles!

With a terrific cast that managed to deliver some terrific performances, alongside one of the most respected film directors of all time, adapting one of the most iconic horror films of all time, it actually falls a little flat. This had several flaws, and was a little tedious on places. So, this gets a: