Entertainment with Bite!Daniel Dercksen
Daniel Dercksen: If you think you are vampire savvy, or suffering from vampire overkill, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is out of this world.
Russian visionary Timur Bekmambetov’s stunner is a refreshing reboot of the genre that gives you a film that humanises vampires and turns humans into scrounging monsters who feed off greediness and supremacy.
Since John Polidori set the imagination on fire with the curse of Dracula, there have been many people who wanted to annihilate the Prince Darkness and his bloodsucking clan; vampires scared us, amused us, and even seduced us with their deadly charm and alluring power.
And, before you say that you have seen it all, wait until you see Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.
The film explores the secret life of Abraham Lincoln (an excellent performance by stage actor Benjamin Walker), and the untold story that shaped the American nation. Bekmambetov’s bring a fresh voice to the bloodthirsty lore of the vampire, imagining Lincoln as history's greatest hunter of the undead, giving us the portrait of the man and leader we’ve all studied and the seminal events that defined him, interwoven with the immersive, visceral action of a vampire story.
At the same time, it presents the Great Emancipator as America’s first superhero; Lincoln’s entire life mirrors the classic comic book superhero mythology. It’s a duality: during the day he’s the president of the United States; at night, a vampire hunter.
When watching a film by Bekmambetov it’s like unwrapping a grand present; you know exactly what’s hidden behind the spectacular wrapping, but as you open the present you discover that it’s a box within a box, within a box, revealing an extraordinary surprise that changes your views on film and the immense visceral impact of the film medium.
Bekmambetov's first feature Escape from Afghanistan was a violent and realistic look at the war between Russia and Afghanistan; Night Watch and its sequel Day Watch was a Russian fantasy film filled with deadly vampires; and his Hollywood directorial debut Wanted revealed a secret society of assassins, was based on Mark Millar’s comic-book miniseries.
3D is an incredible medium for a filmmaker like Bekmambetov, who uses it at its most effective, so make sure to see the 3D version. In fact, the detail of each scene is so crisp that you can actually see specks of dust clouding the air.
Bekmambetov’s unique stylistic approach allows ordinary worlds and events to explode, and characters implode; as a director he fully explores the emotional depth of the colourful characters and as a filmmaker he uses the medium to its utmost extreme.
He allows his audience to feel the action and experience the emotions, propelling us into a fast paced and fantastic adventure filled with twists and turns around each bend.
He also has the unique ability to mine the sub textual landscape of the story, exploring mythological and political themes that are socially relevant without overloading the content.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is exciting escapism that you do not want to end, each moment is an absolute delight that offers first rate entertainment that offers everything you can ask for and more.
It’s not just a film about vampires, but also tells the touching story of lifelong friendships, the bond between families that unites and divides, and undying romance – make sure to not know too much of the story as it will definitely spoil the enjoyment.
The action scenes are awesome and totally overwhelm the senses. Bekmambetov uses slow motion with great effect, allowing the meticulous detail and well-choreographed action of each scene to flourish.
Besides its spectacular visual and special effects, cinematography and production design, the humanity of the story and its romance are perfectly contrasted with the monstrous blood suckers, whose lust for blood equals the humans’ quest for peace and equality.
It is interesting how the film uses the vampire legend to highlight the appalling nature and consequences of slavery, and shows how it reflects humankind’s call for domination.
As the film states, “History only remembers the legend, not the man … the battle, not the blood”, that real power does not come from hate, but from truth, and that “We are all slaves to someone else’s convictions.”
Fact and fiction bleed seamlessly into perfect harmony, submerging logic into a world of fantasy, magnificently turning the impossible into plausible reality.
If you are looking for entertainment with bite, that is amusing and thrilling, and leave you with plenty of food for thought, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is an experience you dare not miss.
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