7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
The romance of the night,
This review is from: Kiss Of The Damned (DVD) (DVD)
Ever since Anne Rice's first novel came out, vampires have become creatures of elegance and romance -- all roses, wine goblets, sensuality and twilit marble mansions.
"Kiss of the Damned" seems to be for those who love such stories of "moral" vampires who live lives of beauty and love, which gives this slow-moving character drama a dreamlike quality. Director Xan Cassavetes has created a truly lovely piece of work, misted over with half-light and soft voices, but the denouement definitely leaves something to be desired.
Young screenwriter Paolo (Milo Ventimiglia) meets a beautiful, exotic woman named Djuna (Josephine de La Baume), and instantly falls in love with her. At first, she seems shy of getting too intimate, and soon reveals why -- she's actually a vampire. But when they sleep together, she ends up drinking his blood and turning him into a vampire.
Paolo quickly moves in with Djuna, and the two of them begin a moonlit romance that can last for all of eternity. But then Djuna's sister Mimi (Roxane Mesquida) comes to stay with them for a week -- and her mind games and reckless blood-drinking throw their lives into turmoil. As Djuna introduces Paolo to the local circle of vampires, led by the actress Xenia (Anna Mouglalis), Mimi begins destroying their romance.
In many ways, "Kiss of the Damned" is a rather cliched vampire romance -- a vampire loves a mortal so much that she turns him so they can be together forever. Some lip service is paid to how awful it is to be rich, hot and immortal, but there aren't a lot of real problems. And oh yeah, the admirable vampires abstain from human blood.
But Xan Cassavetes wrings every last drop of sensuality from her movie. Every scene is draped in a misty, almost dreamlike atmosphere, as though time is slowing down for us as it is for Paolo. Lots of lovemaking and quiet conversations, and rooms filled with eerie pale light in the absence of the sun. When something nasty happens -- such as the most gruesome burning-in-the-sun scene EVER -- it stands out like a bruise.
However, the denouement is lackluster. It feels like Cassavetes didn't know to handle the web of manipulations that Mimi had spun, so she took the easy way out. It's beautifully filmed, but... it leaves you thinking, "Really, that's it?"
Though their characters' love blooms a bit too fast, Ventimiglia and de La Baume have a fragile, sweet chemistry, as if they're still fumbling their way into a relationship. It's rather sweet. Husky-voiced Mouglalis -- who is not in enough English-speaking movies -- is a stately vampire matriarch who finds herself manipulated.
And Mesquida is a cruel, vindictive little girl in a beautiful woman's body; she doesn't care who she hurts or destroys, as long as she gets her way. Blood, sex or control -- if Mimi wants it, she will destroy those around to her get it.
"Kiss of the Damned" is a rather cliched vampire love story, but it wears the cliches with elegance and beauty -- and it all leaves me hoping to see more from Xan Cassavetes.