Neil Jordan's Cautionary Tale of Homosexual Adoption
In celebration of Nathaniel R's Vampire Blog-a-thon and in conjunction with the Halloday, though I have not recently partaken in the orgiastic bloodblath of Vampire Cinema, I figured I would republish one of my most comical and thoroughly campy reviews of Interview With The Vampire.
Neil Jordan has to be about the gayest heterosexual filmmaker the world has ever seen. From The Crying Game to Breakfast on Pluto, Jordan's universe is filled with trannies and homos - all refreshingly depicted with an acceptingly frank and appreciative eye. His film, Interview With the Vampire certainly shaped an odd end of my sexual psyche. In a declaration that may alienate some readers, I was but a wee 5th grade burgeoning homosexual when the film was released, and believe you me, seeing Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt not-quite-kiss was a treat to my would-be nubile mind. I bought Interview the other day in a $10 sale bin and watched it last night for the first time as an "adult" (if we can venture so far as to call myself that).
Oh, my god! Tom Cruise, wow... This has got to be one of the more comedic moments in good-old-Hollywood cinema, proper. Since most of my focus rests on a Camp sensibility, I think I can safely say that Tom Cruise had positively no idea what he was doing in that movie. The high camp figure of Lestat is played by the "actor" with such earnest candor that he reaches an entirely different level of camp, one of the unintentional variety. Brad Pitt, meanwhile takes his stab at brooding, Claire Danes style, by pouting his lips as quickly as you can say crucifix. And those pouting lips resemble all-too-frighteningly those of his current babyfarm counterpart. And let's not forget Kirstin Dunst in, what could be her only good job as an actor. At times, you actually believe she is a sixty year old woman/child, and her role in Louis' life is a (surprisingly) satisfyingly complex one. Oddly, hers is the most compelling figure of the film. Certainly not the positively laughable performance phonetically-cue-carded by Antonio Banderas who looks like he's got last year's Lagerfeld Shag boot on his head. He, more than any other actor, gays it up to the max. I suppose it was to allow his character some intrigue, but he arrives too little to late in the narrative to allow any interest other than as a Lestat comparative.
The movie at large is fun, dull atmospheric smut. So in a sense, it succeeded in replicating Anne Rice's pulp novel. Jordan's direction is clunky and quite odd, but not necessarily in a bad way. His women more frequently than not resemble Dill from The Crying Game (including Thandie Newton in a non-bodily fluid excreting role). And the apparent homosexuality of the Vampires is pretty unoriginal. Many people have written about the parallel between the two -It's in his kiss!:Vampirism as Homosexuality, Homosexuality as Vampirism from The Culture of Queers by Richard Dyer, for instance. Though, in keeping with Jordan's ouvre, they are presented in a much more respectful way than, say, the Count's son, Herbert from Fearless Vampire Killers or Pardon Me But Your Teeth Are In My Neck. Instead, you have a converse universe where there is nothing apparently wrong with the sexual bond between two male Vampires, perhaps because they are apparently evil to begin with, but the movie never becomes that black and white, thankfully. Instead, the characters are far more significant when united, than isolated. Louis is the heterosexual here, but still, the object of his desires is a 10 year old girl (perpetually, true... but still)which certainly connotes a certain air of perversity. The aesthetic of the film is still very beautiful when it's not explicitly spelling STUDIO SHOOT. Even the outdated graphic effects read more graphically juicy than these alternate universes created in post-production CGI studios of today. File this one under guilty pleasures with very few actual redeeming qualities. But, come on... we're talking about a Tom Cruise vehicle here folks. To quote Lauren Becall, "When you talk about a great actor, you're not talking about Tom Cruise."