WE ARE THE NIGHT Review
LESBIAN VAMPIRES! Now that the elephant in the room has been addressed it could be assumed that We Are The Night is the same old cash cow filled with familiar tropes of vampire lore. But in fact this is only half true. For example, there are no male vampires at all and the reason for this is cited as "that they were too greedy." Let the undead empowerment begin! We Are The Night is a German production, and set in Berlin. The production value is extremely high and the film is shot beautifully and reflects the nightlife of Berlin effectively.
This film has a lot of fun exposing the habitual, excessive and gluttonous life of a vampire. The group of girls led by the tall, blonde and mysterious Louise (Nina Hoss) live in separate penthouse suites in a lavish hotel and each have multiple luxury cars, expensive fashion and taste. "we eat just for fun" says Louise when she suggests they go to an expensive restaurant. Likewise, as they can only exist at night (and that particular lore is stronger than ever) they visit a shopping mall that is open just for them. They go where they want, do what they want; they are the night. The majority of the scenes are lavish set pieces, highlighting some beautiful spots in Berlin and enhancing the mood of the film.
Another major component of we Are The Night is the impressions of the night life, and this is brilliantly handled by the films pulsing, kinetic score of hard techno which accompanies the vibrant club scenes and the energy and life the vampires are so desperate to consume.
But the underlying feelings and thoughts of these vampires reveal that all is not well. Louise herself is the most damaged one, and unlike crass junk like Lesbian Vampire Killers, the subplots explored here give a humanist view to her lesbian romanticism as she desperately searches for her one true love. She converts only a handful over the centuries she has existed.
Of those handful is the enigmatic Charlotte (Jennifer Ulrich) a 1920's actress that never made it to the talkies and had to leave her family behind after Louise turned her. Even in the present, amidst raves and ultra modern architecture, Charlotte is a black sheep seen smoking an old fashioned pipe, reading a novel and looking disinterested in everything around her. The other girl is Nora (Anna Fischer) a 90's raver who was turned at the love parade. She is the 'youngest' of the group and is seemingly playful and innocent but is filled with regret that she can never be close to someone without literally harming them.
When Lena is turned she undergoes a violent and painful transformation, followed by a shocking initiation. When things settle, and much to the contempt of Charlotte, Louise plays the sensitive and caring angle towards Lena. Louise personally scolds herself for trying to take her bizarre relationship with Lena too fast. The visual effects at this point are sublime. Lena as a street rat, covered in tattoos, dyed hair and piercings emerges into a bath in Louise's lofty suite only to watch her injuries, ink and dye fade away, revealing a beautiful woman.
It is Lena's connection with the troupe that breaks the relative stability that they had. She is linked, through a previous thieving attempt, to a handsome and young detective Tom. The romance sub plot here is weak, but forgivable as Lena tries to reject his advances, hide the fact of what she is and fend off any jealousy Louise exhibits.
The climax of We Are The Night is ultimately quite depressing. These creatures really are doomed to spend eternity ultimately alone. There are no bad guys here, just misunderstood ones, so the way Lena concludes this is strange and unsettling. I really wanted to spend more time with this group, the film only touches upon what they have been through and feel, but regardless I highly recommend this. We Are The Night is a commercial production but does not suffer from Hollywood-isation, Twilight-itis or any such nonsense and is the best recent non-indie vampire film out there.
We Are the Night
- Dennis Gansel
- Jan Berger (screenplay)
- Dennis Gansel (screenplay)
- Dennis Gansel (story)
- Karoline Herfurth
- Nina Hoss
- Jennifer Ulrich
- Anna Fischer