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|Index||339 reviews in total|
I thoroughly enjoyed watching this movie from start to finish. Having said that, I would like to say this movie is undeniably weird in nearly every sense of the word. I can safely say that I am not going to buy this movie on DVD or VHS when it comes out, because seeing it once really was enough for me. Don't get me wrong, it's a blast to go see, but once is enough. The problem was that William Dafoe and John Malkovich played their parts way too well for words. It was just creepy seeing how well those two got into their characters, they made a rather unbelievable movie believable, and that is what is the rather scary part about it.
It's funny how true art can be silly, while silliness can seldom be truly artful. This film is quite artful, deep with talent and acting skill. It flew by, like a bat in the night. Many laughs. Stunning nuances in Dafoe's central performance. This was not new Malkovich, by any means, but he puts in a good performance. Eddie Izzard, whose stand up and villainous performances usually delight me, fell flat here, in my opinion. He seemed to be a ham trying not to be a ham in his off screen actor character. Udo Kier puts in one of the best performances I have ever seen him do, and I have followed his career with appreciation of his knack for the bizarre. Ronan Vibert (a.k.a. Vivert), as Wolf, the stricken cameraman, did a fabulous recreation of a 1930s vampire film Renfield. The end, without spoiling it, left me rather ... well, drained of enthusiasm. Good film, great Dafoe.
This movie wasn't as tightly pulled together as was possible. For example, as the movie opens subtitles tell us that Murnau couldn't secure the rights to DRACULA so he changed the name to Orlock; then, a few minutes later, one of the characters say the same thing. Several scenes end on what should be a great gag or one-liner, but there's no fizzle. Still, it's great fun. I wish this had come out in the summer. Watching Murnau direct Shreck and the the other actors was hilarious. The actress who played Greta was great, as was Defoe. The final ten minutes of the film were the best; as the film closed, I couldn't shake the smile on my face. (Note to horror fans: this movie isn't scary; rather, it's campy and over the top and great visually.)
In order to connect with the film, you have to see the original Nosferatu, and it would help if you read the book. This film is one of the better vampire films of the last decade. Murnau the director of Nosferatu, finds a real vampire to play the role of dracula and Eddie Izzard plays the real estate broker. When the scenes for Murnau's film are being shot, and Malkovich announces 'iris in', the movie shifts to silent black and white, grainy with authenticity of a vintage blk/wht film. This shift is stunnning and very original, these scenes are when Eddie Izzard wakes up in the town on his way to the castle and a horse carriage scene, when I first saw them I was so surprised they looked exactly the same as 'Nosferatu' but Eddie Izzard is very funny, his comic relief and timing makes you crack up. Enter Dafoe, Nosferatu incarnate, It is as if the actor of the 20's is in the yr 2000, a real vampire cast in this modern film. Dafoe is Nosferatu, breathing, talking, drinking he is Max Schreck. Shadow of the Vampire continues to entertain with Udo Kier, he was Stephen Dorff's boss in Blade, here he produces Nosferatu. Shadow of the Vampire biografically, correctly implies Murnau's bisexual cabaret lifestyle and the film ends with calm Malkovich fanaticism in the eyes of terror.
OK, we know the film takes huge liberties with reality. All you have to do
is check the IMDB listings to see that Max Schreck made twenty movies after
"Nosferatu". But that's not the point.
"Shadow of the Vampire" is not a documentary, or even a drama based on the history of the original Silent classic; it is a satire of sorts that evokes both the German films of the age and real vampires, trying to combine them both. In that it is mostly successful. But the transfer between the clearly comedic - and the frightening and horrific - is rather abrupt, so much so I was left wondering if I was supposed to smile sardonically at some of the end scenes - before it became obvious I was NOT supposed to!
But overall this movie is well worth a look and is generally successful. For fans of German Expressionism - and especially for those who loved the original "Nosferatu" - "Shadow of the Vampire" is a must.
By the way, for those who saw "Shadow" but not "Nosferatu" do NOT think for a second the original was in any way funny or quaint; it was and remains very creepy and scary.
As a final note, the performances here are are all good, especially John Malkovich and, of course, a marvelous tour de force by an unrecognizable Willem Dafoe.
Check it out!
Willem Dafoe should win the Oscar for this film. I liked how the film fictionally implied that Max Schreck was REALLY a vampire. Director E. Elias Merhige and writer Steven Katz have crafted a rather one dimensional film but there is nothing one dimensional about Willem Dafoe's performance. Spooky, funny, haunting and terrifying come to mind. Max Schreck was sort of an enigma himself and Dafoe plays him that way. Great make-up and terrific camera lighting make this film a must see for fans of classic horror cinema reborn!
Malkovich, Dafore and Udo Kier where very convicing, as were the other actors, never falling out of their character. I will be seeing this movie serveral time at the theater and will look forward to owning it on DVD soon.
This one should not be missed, it's so great, I could call it the Being John Malkovich of this winter, because it's original, entertaining and intelligent. Sure, there are some critics who will complain about the fact of transforming Nosferatu but why would we care about that. Don't miss it, especially if you loved films like American Psycho or A Clockwork Orange. I never thought Dafoe and Malkovich could make a duo as good as De Niro and Pacino together!
The film has a clever and intriguing concept, but unfortunately takes itself
far too seriously. The script would not have to have been changed
considerably to give this a lighter edge - - just have all of the actors
tone down the intensity a little.
The opening credits have a sleek deco look that is at first eye catching. However, the credits drag on far too long, and the art loses its appeal.
[For the record, I HAVE seen the original Nosferatu, I do know quite a bit about the film making process, and I did catch the "jokes" that are in the film (there just weren't enough of them).]
This is generally an enjoyable film, and the concept is well
Both Malkovich and and especially Dafoe are excellent. The director uses
many techniques appropriate to the period, so the shots have the same look,
even in color, as the original Nosferatu. But I think many viewers will go
expecting something quite different, and will be disappointed. This is not
really a comedy, or a horror movie, or a satire, and definitely not a
documentary. It is best called a sort of commentary on film-making in
There were a few very inspired scenes, such as (after admitting to the director that what he longs for most is the sight the world in daylight), the vampire played with a projector containing a short reel of shots taken during the day. As he stares directly into the lens and turns the crank, it almost brings a tear to your eye.
Another is the night-time scene with the producer, writer and lead 'actor' sitting around a fire drinking schnapps. They are talking like a bunch of pros letting their hair down, and even after the vampire snatched a passing bat out of the air, quickly removes the head and sucks the blood out, the others accept it as the measure of a fine dedicated artist.
Not for everyone, but worthwhile for the open minded.
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