The Films of Neil Jordan
The Company of Wolves
We're No Angels
The Crying Game
Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (October 31/11)
Based on Anne Rice's nigh unreadable novel, Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles follows 18th century plantation owner Louis de Pointe du Lac (Brad Pitt) as he's transformed into a vampire by Tom Cruise's Lestat de Lioncourt - with the film charting Louis' exploits over the next few centuries, including his paternal relationship with Kirsten Dunst's Claudia. As was the case with Rice's book, Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, in its initial stages, comes off as a surprisingly uninvolving work that boasts few elements designed to capture and sustain the viewer's interest - with the movie's less-than-engrossing atmosphere exacerbated by a pervasive lack of momentum within its opening hour (ie there's just nothing propelling the thin narrative forward). The talky atmosphere is sporadically alleviated by the inclusion of striking sequences, while the various performances - Cruise is especially good here - prove instrumental in staving off total boredom among the increasingly impatient viewer. There's little doubt that the movie benefits substantially from the arrival of Dunst's undead character, as Claudia effectively infuses the proceedings with a jolt of much-needed energy and dramatic heft (ie the character's plight is genuinely interesting). The presence of several surprisingly engrossing stretches - eg Louis and Claudia watch a sinister play performed by actual vampires - ensures that Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles improves steadily as it goes along, although, having said that, there's little doubt that the movie's aggressively overlong running time often does threaten to negate its positive attributes - with the end result is a passable horror effort that unquestionably fares better than its worthless source material.
The Butcher Boy (January 26/14)
Based on a book by Pat McCabe, The Butcher Boy details the rebellious antics of a young man named Francie Brady (Eamonn Owens) and the impact his increasingly violent escapades have on various periphery figures. It's clear right from the outset that The Butcher Boy possesses few attributes designed to capture and sustain the viewer's interest, with the movie's hands-off atmosphere perpetuated by a loathsome protagonist that's devoid of compelling or even likeable attributes. The nails-on-a-chalkboard nature of Owens' seriously grating performance ensures that Francie remains an almost stunningly off-putting figure from beginning to end, which, in turn, ensures that there's simply never a point at which the viewer is able to work up an ounce of interest in or sympathy for the character's exploits. Beyond its disaster of a protagonist, The Butcher Boy suffers from an excessively meandering narrative that clumsily lurches from one irrelevant, uninteresting episode to the next - with the subsequent lack of momentum, which is total and complete, persisting right through to the movie's nigh incomprehensible final stretch. The end result is as misguided and worthless an adaptation as one can easily recall, and it's ultimately difficult not to wonder just what drew Jordan, an otherwise reliable filmmaker, to this absolutely abhorrent material.
no stars out of
The End of the Affair
The Good Thief (April 4/03)
The Good Thief is a caper film that's more interested in developing characters than in dealing with the actual heist. Nick Nolte stars as Bob, an American living in Monte Carlo. He's in pretty bad shape; he's got debts, he's a junkie, and he's constantly being pursued by a persistent cop (Tcheky Karyo). But his chance for redemption appears in the form of a complicated burglary scheme involving a casino and some valuable paintings. Bob begins assembling a team for the job, but has to contend with a beautiful young girl who's suddenly come into his life as well as that ever-present police officer. The Good Thief is mostly entertaining, if completely forgettable. Director Neil Jordan has crafted a film that's always interesting to watch, but the pervasively light and bubbly atmosphere prevents the movie from ever amounting to much. The Good Thief does, however, contain one of Nolte's most effective and complex performances in years. Playing a drug addict looking to clean up his act, Nolte is completely riveting from start to finish - and he's certainly been surrounded by an equally impressive supporting cast. The film's weakest link, though, appears in the form of that young girl taken in by Bob. Her presence is completely superfluous and the film essentially comes to a dead stop whenever the story focuses on her. Still, The Good Thief is worth checking out for the excellent use of real-life locations in Monte Carlo and for Nolte's superb acting.
Breakfast on Pluto
The Brave One
Click here for review.