Bram Stoker’s Dracula sets opera into gothic horror opera


You could say that “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” brought style to the vampire genre and not much else – but what style he brought! It’s a film chock-full of lavish imagery, from Eiko Ishioka’s Oscar-winning costumes (many of which are museum-worthy works of art) to the striking in-camera and on-set visuals overseen by the son. of Coppola, Roman Coppola. The film also takes its hat off to past adaptations of “Dracula”, using iris transitions and shot compositions reminiscent of the German expressionism of “Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror”. Even the famous moment when Dracula’s shadow comes to life and threatens to strangle Jonathan Harker (Keanu Reeves) is a beautiful tribute to the profile of Count Orlok walking up a flight of stairs in FW Murnau’s unauthorized silent version of Stoker’s novel.

Much like the Wes Anderson films, however, you can’t separate the style of “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” from the substance. It’s a gothic tale of damned souls and a romance (with a capital “R”) that spans centuries. It required theatrical sensibility in everything from cinematography and music (you can associate Michael Ballhaus’s ominous central theme with almost anything, and it would sound dramatic and eerie) to script and acting. Plus, Coppola and his big-name actors know better than to wink at the audience. None of the movie’s quirks would have landed if Ryder, Oldman, and their co-stars weren’t playing everything with straight faces. Even Reeves, despite all the criticism he’s received for his turn as Mr. Harker, takes everything here seriously. (The real problem is, Reeves was misinterpreted in a role that just didn’t match his strengths as an actor.)


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