Bil’s rating (out of 5): B. USA 2011. American Zoetrope. Screenplay by Francis Ford Coppola. Cinematography by Mihai Malaimaire Jr.. Produced by Francis Ford Coppola. Music by Dan Deacon, Osvaldo Golijov. Production Design by Jimmy DiMarcellis. Costume Design by Marjorie Bowers. Film Editing by Kevin Bailey, Glen Scantlebury, Robert Schafer. Toronto International Film Festival 2011.
Francis Ford Coppola dips into the vampire genre with unwatchable results. A terrible Val Kilmer plays a writer on the decline who finds himself in a dusty little town during a book tour, his tomes on witch hunts still maintaining some potency with readers. Ornery old Bruce Dern approaches and informs him of a recent murder of a young woman who soon begins to appear in Kilmer’s dreams, inspiring him in his waking life to hit the keyboard once again. He is accompanied in his nocturnal adventures by the ghost of Edgar Allan Poe (Ben Chaplin), and Kilmer begins to wonder if perhaps he really is spending time in a place touched by a different world and not just losing sleep over a faltering career and a crumbled marriage (Joanne Whalley, Kilmer’s actual ex-wife, plays his estranged spouse via webcam). Long, dry scenes of painfully bad dialogue and terrible performances by all, not to mention inept photography and a dud of a plot, make it impossible to believe that this is from the filmmaker of such classics as The Godfather and Apocalypse Now: it’s actually not even possible to believe that it’s from the director of Bram Stoker’s Dracula or Gardens of Stone.