WE ARE THE NIGHT
(Wir Sind die Nacht)
What is immediately apparent about Dennis Gansel is his extraordinary visual sense. He has determined to make a film that homages chic vampire classics such as Daughters of Darkness (1971) and The Hunger (1983). The later scenes escaping in the limo as it is shot by bullets and penetrated by spears of light recalls the very similar scene in Near Dark (1987). Dennis Gansel has an assurance, energy and style to spare his work here easily rivals that of Tony Scott in The Hunger and Kathryn Bigelow with Near Dark. The film comes with an extraordinary assurance on every level that elevates a story that in another more routine directors hands would emerge as fairly average material. Visually, the film resembles a good deal of The Hunger where Gansel has determined to immerse us in a world of sumptuous visual elegance. Berlin has been shot in unique ways that emphasises the richness of the colour palette everywhere Gansels camera turns.
The film comes with a kicker of an opening set aboard a plane as Gansels camera cruises through, showing the entire passenger complement slaughtered and the girls lounging about, before a hostess is found cowering, Nina Hoss goes in to snap her neck and emerges with blood on her lips, before the three of them open the door and jump out in mid-air. The second half becomes one where Gansel and the foursome of girls delve into a lifestyle of conspicuous consumption against a background of nightclubs and hotel rooms, they wandering through department stores and taking what they want, each driving an expensive fast car, dining in fine dining restaurants and stubbing cigarettes out in their eyes to the disgust of snobby diners or turning a biodome into their own swimming pool and casually slaughtering the guards. This is the post-Hunger chic vampire the vampire film by way of Sex and the City (1998-2004), set amid a lifestyle that is defined by conspicuous fashion consumption and hedonism. In this chic world, vampirisim is seen as the ultimate empowerment for a woman as the girls tell Karoline Herfurth at one point, now they are able to be able to eat without worrying about getting fat and have casual sex without concern for pregnancy.
Karoline Herfurth the extraordinarily beautiful German actress to be found in a memorable minor role in Tom Tykwers Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (2006) has been cast as a fucked-up teen outfitted in the best Lisbeth Salander mold and with a spikily aggressive anti-authoritarian manner to match when we first meet her. The one part of the film I never easily brought was her change from cynical social outsider in the first half to the conscience of the group during the second the two halves dont easily mix. The film is far more incredulous when it takes nothing more than a bath to change Karoline Herfurth from a socially rejected punkette to sophisticated woman the bath even appears to instantly change her hair colour and style. Nevertheless, Herfuth holds up well in the part. Nina Hoss does a fine job as the vampish queen bee of the group and the two others, Anna Fischer and Jennifer Ulrich, have a great deal of fun playing to the hilt.