Movie Review: Dracula (1992)

Set in two eras, Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’ is one of Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpieces.

This movie is based on the Romanian legend of Count Vlad Dracula, a military leader of the 15th century, who fought and impaled the Ottoman Turks. Vlad Dracula was the son of Count Dracul. Irish writer Bram Stoker later foretold the legend combining it with myths of vampires and created the quintessential novel DRACULA. Count Dracula is the valiant swordsman, the eternal lover, Satan cursing the Lord, the Romeo who travels through time in search of the incarnation of the woman he once loved, and in the end a martyr.

‘Dracula’, released in 1992,  is one of the most intense love stories till date set in late 19th century Europe. It is about a man whose wife commits suicide after hearing false reports of his death and in his agony denounces the Church thereby evoking eternal damnation to wander the realms of the earth as an undead creature needing the blood of the living to sustain his existence. He waits for 400 years waiting to be reunited with his true love, which he eventually finds reincarnated in London, and embarks on a mission to reclaim his love. On his way to hunting her, he becomes the hunted, and thus engages in fright, fight and flight.

The cast of this movie has given us some wonderful performances. Gary Oldman, Anthony Hopkins, Winona Ryder, Keanu Reeves, Tom Waits and Sadie Frost all contribute to the worthiness of this film. Gary Oldman (Dracula) delivers an extraordinary lead performance as the pitiful yet powerful Count who pulls us into a world of love, luxuria and eros, pursuing his lady love Winona Ryder, the chaste and chirpy Mina, till the ends of the earth. Anthony Hopkins plays the ever crafty and composed vampire hunter, Van Helsing. Keanu Reeves does justice to his role as the naïve Jonathan Harker (Mina’s fiancé). But special mention must be made to Sadie Frost and Tom Waits, who’s impressive work on screen as Mina’s friend Lucy (who subsequently plays the vampire’s concubine and goes on to become one herself), and the Count’s doting servant Renfield, put the dot on the i.

Francis Ford Copolla’s direction has truly made this an Oscar Winner, along with the enigmatic yet touching soundtrack created by Wojciech Kilar. The special effects, the surreal sexuality, visual juxtapositions, the overall feel of the movie makes one want to watch the movie over and over again.

This movie rejuvenates the Count’s aristocracy and generousness, giving the message that the Count indeed has a heart. The intensity of the emotions portrayed on screen imparts the dark yet deep purports of love. His doom also gives us a glimpse of his heartbreak which he has to live with forever, but also as an affluent kind compassionate being, cursed to feed on man. As much as a vampire is a creature of the dark, living among pestilence and evil, this particular movie changes the existing perspective one has about this being.

Reshma Raju