Projections - Movie Reviews

Shadow of the Vampire Shadow of the Vampire

Those who appreciate the work of Jim Carrey underneath all that makeup will appreciate the eerie revelation as Willem Dafoe's "actor of distinction" makes the classic Nosferatu an intoxicating spin of the use of the vampire to create art in moving pictures.

Witty and fixating with a powered aura from non-studio location shooting in Luxemboug with its many castles representing medieval times and an unfamiliar geography, Shadow of the Vampire artfully goes far in the film making department through the talented F.W. Murnau, played by John Malkovich.  The absorbing, but not thrilling, tale concerns Murnau's Faustian pact with Dafoe's anguished Max Schreck, a seemingly life-like vampire who prefers to stay in costume and character.  Schreck states near the climax, "You're just like me," and the ambitious director knows he's gone over the edge but not to the degree of Schreck, acting out his Count Orlock with an inspired vampirism.

The script, a fictionalized Nosferatu, has a feel for the German Expressionism of the 1920's as Stephen Katz delves into the realm of the vampire similar to the hand he gave Anne Rice in her early drafts of Interview With A Vampire.

In the artifice of Berlin's Jofa Films Studios in 1921, Murnau and his company with few extras go by train to Czechoslovakia - a place where those who feed off the living may have lived for decades. From the first shot of Schreck face one can feel like the guest in a spooky abode to be used for shooting; the ominous presence of the unknown actor before he is fully seen coming out of a hole to instill his difficult characteristics into Murnau's approach to make his art audacious with a strong feel for its past.

Branching off of the bald man with Vulcan ears, ghastly dark-rimmed eyes and sporting hands with lengthy fingernails, the bony hunchback intrigues as he remains in his role at all times, as the film moves from black and white as it was then into color in the film within a film.

Dafoe will turn heads with his uncanny umbra of a repelling but ardent figure who longs to link the nightmares of the undead with his suppressed dreams.

 
Frank
Chris
Tony
Jim
Kathleen
Avg.
Shadow of the Vampire
C+
B+
 
B+
 
B
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