If you thought all Tom Cruise movies had a scene showing Tom Cruise sprinting, you were wrong. Vampires don’t sprint, and in this movie… Tom Cruise is a vampire. So is Brad Pitt. Tom Cruise plays the bloodthirstier of the two. There’s a lot of blood and death in this movie. It’s not really my genre. At all.
Hah. I wanted to know about the financial aspects of being an immortal vampire. Do they steal? Do they invest? Do they work for pay? They could do any or all of those things, but we are shown zero of them. We also don’t see the legal or even social consequences of any of their murders, some of which really seem like they would have been noticed. Oh well…. In the positive column, Kristen Dunst, age 12, did a great job of playing an eternal woman child.
See below for a plot summary with SPOILERS in the form of a beat sheet in the style described in Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat.
The Golden Gate Bridge at night, zooming in on San Francisco.
Frame Story Beginning
A vampire is telling the story of his life to a reporter.
Rich Louisiana plantation-owner Louis has lost his wife and child in childbirth, and now has a death wish. Enter Lestat, a vampire who offers to kill him or make him immortal. Louis chooses immortality and says goodbye to the sun but is sickened by the idea of feeding on humans. He tries to survive on chickens and rats, but, fearing he will give into the urge to drink human blood, he dismisses his slaves and burns down his mansion. Lestat is furious; he has no problem killing humans, he scorns Louis’ distaste for it, and only wants to live a luxurious, self-indulgent, well-fed life.
In search of rats, Louis wanders into a quarter that has been struck by plague. He discovers a girl clinging to her mother’s corpse. She cries out for help, and he goes to comfort her. He cannot resist drinking her blood.
Louis guiltily leaves the girl for dead when Lestat discovers him, but Lestat reveals that she is not dead, and gives Louis the choice of watching her die or watching him turn her into a vampire like themselves.
Break into Three
Louis chooses not to let the girl die. Claudia becomes part of their strange family.
Promise of the Premise / B Story
Claudia enjoys killing humans and getting what she wants, but as the years go by she becomes frustrated by her inability to grow into a woman. She is angry with Louis and Lestat for turning her into a vampire, but she can’t be angry with Louis for long.
Claudia kills Lestat by poisoning two humans and offering them to him as food, then slitting his throat. Louis helps her dump him in the swamp. Claudia and Louis pack to leave for Europe, but Lestat, looking rather disgusting, reappears. They set him and their house on fire and escape America by boat.
Bad Guys Close In
Louis and Claudia seek other vampires in Europe. Finally, they find some in Paris. Their leader, Armand, says they are old and obsolete, and welcomes them on account of their fresh New World background. However, the group has heard rumors that Claudia killed Lestat, one of their own. This is a crime that cannot be ignored.
Armand, perhaps the mentor Louis has been seeking, tells him to send Claudia away for her safety. Claudia, though she does not want to be separated from Louis, seeks out a new companion. She chooses a human who has lost a daughter and wishes to love Claudia as her own, forever. Claudia persuades Louis to perform the necessary transformation, though he feels it is extremely wrong to do so.
All Is Lost
Louis and Claudia and the woman are captured by the Paris vampires. Louis is put into a box in a wall to die slowly, and the women are put into a hole to be exposed to the sun. Armand, though he seems to have orchestrated or at least permitted the attack, rescues Louis, but not in time to save Claudia.
Dark Night of the Soul
In San Francisco, Louis cries; something vampires are seldom able to do.
Break into Three
Louis decides to take revenge on the Paris vampires.
Louis kills all the Paris vampires by setting fire to their underground home and cutting down those who try to escape with a scythe. He rides away in a carriage with Armand.
Louis, after deciding he doesn’t want Armand as a mentor, goes back to the United States, where, thanks to the invention of movies, he is able to watch a sunrise for the first time in many decades. He stumbles across Lestat living abjectly in an abandoned house, but refuses to become his companion again.
Frame Story Ending
Despite everything Louis has said about his guilt, regret, and remorse, the reporter wants to become a vampire himself. Louis, frustrated that the reporter does not understand, loses his temper, assaults the reporter, then disappears. The reporter gathers his things and races away in his car. Lestat, from the back seat, expresses boredom when he hears the reporter’s tape start to play Louis’ life story. He bites the reporter and gives him the same choice he gave Louis.
The Golden Gate Bridge, zooming out from the reporter’s car.