It's definitely true that when you know absolutely nothing about this movie beforehand, it might come as a bit of a shocker. It's a ballet version of the Dracula story and if that wasn't already enough originality and strangeness, it's also shot in a silent movie style.

Actually, I already was familiar with some of Guy Maddin's other work, so I sort of knew what to expect from this movie already. He's a director that loves to shoot his movies in a very stylish and old fashioned style, often from the silent movie era. But it's not like he just mimics the style, he makes it completely his own. It's like he's always giving his own free interpretation of the genre and completely reinvents it instead. Saying that this movie is done in an old fashioned style does not mean you could compare it to older movies as well. It's very much its own thing, which is also the foremost reason why this movie works out so well.

Basically the foremost reason why this movie is such an intriguing and perfectly watchable one, are its visuals. It's a spectacular movie to look at, even though it's almost entirely shot in black & white. The camera-work is very innovative and also helps to keep the movie going at all times.

It was also quite interesting to see the familiar story being told for most part from the viewpoint of the Lucy Westernra character. This was actually a very good idea in my opinion, since her character perhaps goes through the biggest transformations and is one of the more interesting, yet mostly ignored, characters from the Dracula story.

What also was quite interesting was seeing an Asian in the role of Dracula. It sounds odd but it actually was something that worked out quite well. Wei-Qiang Zhang, as it turned out, was a very charismatic choice, for the role of the well known and much portrayed blood sucking count.

And as far as ballet goes; this movie does mostly a good job at keeping things understandable and not all about its dancing and exaggerated expressions from its actors. But I should probably say that if you aren't familiar at all with the Dracula story, you probably will still have a hard time following the story in this movie. But then again, who isn't familiar with the Dracula story now days?

I should also probably admit that if the movie would had been any longer, I would had had a hard time finishing it. The movie as it is at times feels sort of overlong already, even while its only 73 minutes short. Watching a completely silent movie, with dancing characters, gets a bit of an endurance test after a while I guess but it still remains an ultimately rewarding movie, by the end.

Visually and technically speaking, its a great and interesting, original movie, that might not keep everybody constantly interested though.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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