Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.
United Kingdom/USA/Ireland, 2012. Demarest Films, Lipsync Productions, Number 9 Films, Parallel Film Productions, WestEnd Films. Screenplay by Moira Buffini, based on her play A Vampire Story. Cinematography by Sean Bobbitt. Produced by Sam Englebardt, William D. Johnson, Elizabeth Karlsen, Alan Moloney, Stephen Woolley. Music by Javier Navarrete. Production Design by Simon Elliott. Costume Design by Consolata Boyle. Film Editing by Tony Lawson. Toronto International Film Festival 2012.
Vampire tales are given yet another twist, this time concentrating on the bond between mother and daughter, in this return to the genre by Interview With The Vampire director Neil Jordan. It adapts Moira Buffini’s play to the big screen with Saoirse Ronan, once again spending an entire movie looking like she forgot her puffer at home, struggling to tell her centuries-old tale to the new young man (Caleb Landry Jones, whose non-British accent is never explained) she has just met. He is in love with her romantic looks, completely unaware that she is two centuries old, and she believes that she will achieve happiness if only she can find someone to be completely honest with. Meanwhile, her protective companion (Gemma Arterton) works the streets as a prostitute to keep them safe and hidden from the strange men of a top-secret vampire order looking to kill them; she knows better than Ronan that letting people know who they are will only bring them trouble. There are moments of impressive panache, particularly some terrific vampire violence and the engaging flashback scenes that tell the very fascinating tale of these womens’ origins, drawing you into their characters enough to make them sympathetic. Most of the modern-day stuff is too drawn out and dull, however, and sympathy for the younger of the two heroines is very difficult to muster given how colourless her performance is. Arterton makes an unexpected splash in the lead, fearlessly eccentric and boisterous in a way that is a refreshing alternative to her wan co-star.