Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.
Canada, 2002. Vonnie Von Helmolt Film, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Dracula Productions Inc., Royal Winnipeg Ballet. Based on the ballet by Mark Godden, and the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker. Cinematography by Paul Suderman. Produced by Vonnie von Helmolt. Production Design by Deanne Rohde. Costume Design by Paul Daigle. Film Editing by deco dawson.
The Winnipeg Ballet Company’s stylish production of Bram Stoker’s classic has been brought to the screen by innovative filmmaker Guy Maddin. Done as a silent film, the story is told through mime and dance, filmed in grainy black and white with silent-era intertitles illuminating some of the more complicated dialogue. The plot remains the same from the original novel: Dracula turns sexy Lucy Westenra into a bloodsucking vampire and then turns his sights on her more innocent friend Mina Harker. It is up to the crafty Dr. Van Helsing and his friends to put a stop to the evil Vampyr who is doing this. As in Twilight of the Ice Nymphs, Maddin fails to maintain the energy of his short films in his feature films, and the intensity fizzles out of this one long before it’s over. His stylish photography is breathtakingly beautiful, but the editing chops up the dancing too much and kills any immediacy that might have been had from watching it as a stage version. A worthy aim for a project, but not one that achieved all of its goals, and it’s over far too soon to be effective.