3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht!.,
This review is from: Nosferatu The Vampyre  [DVD] (DVD)
Werner Herzog's remake of F. W. Murnau's classic film (the story for which Murnau stole without permission from Bram Stoker) is, thus far my absolute favorite vampire film. This version of Nosferatu, in places is almost a frame for frame remake, a masterpiece of homage. The slow, somewhat exaggerated reactions of his characters brilliantly echo the performances given by the silent actors in the original film. The landscape is moody and lovely and the sets are gorgeous, especially the phantom castle of The Count, haunted by memories and the strange ghost of a violin playing child. Like other Herzog films, NOSFERATU THE VAMPYRE is exquisitely photographed, eliciting an almost transcendental experience. Jonathan's journey to Dracula's castle, the dancing of the plague-ridden townsfolk, and the final scene are prime examples and not to mention the great musical score done Popol Vuh and Wagne. Lovely Isabelle Adjani here is the good and virtuous Lucy (the name reversal of the female characters is rather inexplicable, but it doesn't really matter) floating through the film like a beautiful dream and never once weakening in her faith, even in the face of ultimate horror. Bruno Ganz is somewhat stiff and unemotional, and one has to wonder why Lucy goes to such lengths to save this man who, for some reason, she loves with all her heart. Only in his moments of sickness and fear does Ganz emerge from his emotional void. But it is Klaus Kinski's incredible shadow that stretches over this film and swallows it whole. Kinski plays his rat-faced, bald headed vampire with perfection. Yes, he complains about the loneliness of being undead and he laments his existence outside the realm of love and humanity, but he does it with a shrug instead of a whine. Kinski plays his best role ever and Kinki's intensity allows him to become a perfect Dracula. This is a great film for those seeking an accessible introduction to film-as-art, and the legendary collaborations of Herzog and Kinski. It will likely annoy those who think of Dracula as a good looking romantic guy with a nasty habit, but is highly recommended for fans of Stoker's original work.