Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht
DVD - Image A- Sound B Extras A
BD - Image D+ Sound B+ Extras B
starring Klaus Kinski, Isabelle Adjani, Bruno Ganz, Roland Topor
screenplay by Werner Herzog
directed by Werner Herzog
by Walter Chaw Nosferatu the Vampyre isn't scary so much as it's just delightful; not topical so much as it's an extremely competent, sometimes inspired tribute to F. W. Murnau and his classic 1922 Nosferatu. Werner Herzog's hand at the rudder is steady and Klaus Kinski's performance as Count Dracula is definitive, but the picture is an exercise in style generally lacking in the New German auteur's main throughlines, i.e., representation, class, and the vagaries of the creative process. What does survive relatively intact is Herzog's nascent surrealism, which flowers during the picture's endlessly disturbing tableaux of plague victims celebrating the last of life with rat-infested banquets and danses macabre. One could extend a little and support that the film's scenes of apocalypse and pestilence hint at a loathing of immigrants and the perception of cultural corruption, but there's a damning ornamental emptiness at the centre of Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht (henceforth Nosferatu) that places it forever out of time--without a father, as it were. The film's reason for being (it's a shrine to Herzog's favourite German director) is also the end of the conversation.