I’ve heard of this version based on the novel Dracula for many years. I heard Gary Oldman was well praised for his portrayal of the demonic vampire. I’m not quite why it took me so long to see the movie, I guess it was the fact I didn’t have easy access to it perhaps. But once I saw it was on Netflix Instant, I seized the chance.
From what I can tell, the movie is pretty faithful to the novel, at least when compared to other works with Dracula in it. The film starts with a flashback of centuries prior where Vlad the Impaler goes off to fight against the Turks of the Ottoman Empire in the name of the Christian version of God. His wife Elisabeta hears false reports that he died in the battle, and she takes her own life as a result. The Prince of the small Eastern European nation defies God and priests when they tell him that her soul is damned for eternity. He soon makes a deal with the Devil (not literally) to become a creature of pure evil.
Then we see the year 1897, where a young lawyer named Jonathan Harker helps settle the real estate of a Romanian Count by the name of Dracula. While he is a little spooked at first, his childish fears turn into real legitimate reasons to be concerned. The problems grow even worse when Count Dracula discovers a picture of Harker’s fiancee.
Luckily for Dracula, Harker’s fiancee Mina Murray looks just like his departed wife. Believing her to be the reincarnation of his beloved spouse, Count Dracula goes to London to meet her in the flesh. Going back to a more youthful form, he tries to win her heart without much trickery. However, he will find it difficult to sever her emotions to her fiancee.
Overall I was pretty impressed by Bram Stroker’s Dracula by Francis Ford Coppola. I hear most critics liked the movie and most of the casting. I did read that everyone apparently spat on Keanu Reeves who at the time was really famous for playing a not very bright Californian surfer dude in the Bill and Ted movies. He’s certainly overshadowed by Gary Oldman (Dracula) and Anthony Hopkins (Abraham Van Helsing), but I thought he did okay.