Eternal (2004) Movie Review
Canadian newcomers Wilhelm Liebenberg and Federico Sanchez (say that five times fast) have come out of nowhere with this bizarre, sometimes fascinating, and often infuriating indepedent, without a doubt one of the strangest vampire movie I've seen since Dracula: Pages from a Virgin's Diary.
Set in modern-day Montreal, the film opens with a retelling of the legend of an ancient vampiress from Slovakia, who seduced other women and drank their blood. Could it be that she's not only alive 400 years later, but she's also Canadian? When the wife of cop Raymond Pope (Conrad Pla, desperately missing a consonant from his name) disappears, the case leads Pope to one Elizabeth Kane (Caroline Néron), a statuesque blonde who's obviously hiding something about wifey.
Pope quickly slides into Elizabeth's world, and the body count keeps up with the number of sex scenes involving Elizabeth, none of which involve her actually taking off her clothes. Eventually, Pope himself is looking like the suspect in a number of slayings, from his partner's wife (with whom he's having a bondage-laden affair) to his 16-year-old babysitter (played by 24-year-old Liane Balaban). Just as Pope is about to be put in jail, he vanishes, tracks Elizabeth down in Venice, of all places, and -- maybe -- stops the madness. Hey Canada, that's some airport security system you got there!
Eternal is gorgeous to look at, and I'll never figure out how Liebenberg and Sanchez managed to land some of the greatest locations in Montreal for this indie shoot. They also got some unquestionably gorgeous actresses, most of whom seem to have a base level of acting ability to draw upon. But their script -- gee, where do you begin to start talking about this thing? Half real, half fantasy... not much of Eternal makes any sense at all, and Pope's police work is some of the shoddiest on screen, ever. He drops by Elizabeth's palace, asks a couple of questions, passes out, then goes home. After another person vanishes, Pope comes back the next day, tries to get it on with Liz, and goes home again. The cycle repeats on auto-pilot for the entire film, with sheer coincidence (a book in a Venice shop draws Pope's eye at random) driving Pope to the next plot point.
I don't know much about Liebenberg and Sanchez, but its clear their talents lie in producing and cinematography, not in screenwriting.
This way to the coat room.