2.7 stars. Even though all the special effects are in-camera, it still manages to feel at times like a lurid CGI extravaganza. It has much the same grubby appeal of Troika's wonderful 2004 RPG 'Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines' but somehow never quite gives itself over to sheer giddy enjoyment in the way that game does. A film I probably could love if I could find a crack in it to work myself into.
In my 30 years of living, I never before finished this - I always turn it off somewhere, disgusted. After finally forcing myself through, I firmly believe this is one of the most vile and evil films ever made. The film's logic - as if in a fever dream of a terminal patient, or in the last involuntary synapses of a man dying mid-coitus - shuns all Good in service of Love, forever distancing the two. It's mad genius.
Distinctive, yet unpretentious take on this well known myth. Director gives the famous main character a more humane side, while exploring sexual tensions beneath the entire sadistic story. Using "primitive" special effects works quite well, emphasizing the "medieval" setting and as homage to early cinema.
Francis' direction and the performances by Oldman and Hopkins were the highlights of this experimental horror film. Keanu and Winona struggle to keep up with these legends and it shows. Remarkably enough, there is a certain charm that makes me want to come back for more.
Worth watching for the good aesthetic moments (that seem to fade through the film), costumes and Winona Ryder. A cookie for Keanu, for trying. And kudos for Tom Waits' performance. I'm still debating my feelings towards the added layer of 'pseudo-psychosexuality'. And O!, will I ever get to miss the theme of loss of female soul through sexual acts?