Interview with a Vampire – what is immortality?

The current vampire craze rekindled an interest for me to re-watch Interview with a Vampire, in which many of its concepts and ideas appears to me to be the predecessor for today’s popular Twilight saga and Vampire Diaries.  Such themes include, exploring the psyche of vampires, a vampire’s ironic apprehension towards taking life, the “vegetarian” vampire, and giving the vampire the humane quality of love .  I didn’t remember much of this film since the first time I watched it.  Some of the scenes were more disturbing than I remembered.  Following Brad Pitt’s character, Louis, however, was gripping and fascinating.

Louis willingly entered into the dark life of a vampire, hoping to escape the hell of suffering the pain of being widowed but found himself in another hell as he became a monster.  He played the tragic vampire with a conscience.  He was a monster, a predator by nature, who still valued human life and felt regret for taking life in order to survive, which was an ironic twist, seeing that he was formerly suicidal as a human when he drowned in his grief.  Through an intriguing development of his character, the film portrayed his quest to find meaning for his immortally monstrous existence.  He sought out a sage to teach him about the purpose of his nature.  Who was the “creator” of all vampires, he asked; perhaps discovering the origins of his kind might offer some meaning.  But to no avail, his quest left him with no answers other than what LeStat (Tom Cruise) kept reiterating to him: he just was and there was no why.  His own quest surfaced the interesting question of immortality.  What is immortality?  Is it simply to live forever?  Is it simply to escape death?  Or does immortality have to mean a quality of existence, a certain state of being?  The escape of death is no solution if a life defined by goodness, purity, love, righteousness, beauty and godliness cannot be attained.  As it was for Louis, escaping death to embrace a life without such qualities is simply trading in for another kind of death, which perhaps is even worse than the former.  In the search for eternity, we may be led to redefine the meaning of living.  Interestingly, the one responsible for the kind of lives LeStat and Louis had were their makers.  Unfortunately for LeStat and Louis, their makers were vampires, creatures of darkness who preyed on others.  Even the oldest of vampires, Armand (Antonio Banderas), offered Louis no insightful meaning to their existence.  Hence, the only solutions offered to them were meaningless themes of evil.   In the question of what is the meaning of any being’s existence, we may find a foundational clue from our Creator.  The God of all things and beings may offer a ready answer to the meaning of eternity.  Like Louis, perhaps we’re all on a quest to discovering the meaning of immortality, a quest that directs us back to our Creator for answers.  Only for us, our Creator is a maker of goodness, righteousness, beauty, and truth.

A comment of caution – while this piece based on the Anne Rice’s novel is a classic and an intrigue and superbly raises human issues that many people would ask, it is rated R for violence and nudity.

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