Australian vampire film A Nocturne strives to be a meditative and thoughtful yet sexy addition to the genre. Its sparse storyline is weighted with deep meaning and implication. Unfortunately, that meaning is largely hidden from the audience, and leads to at least as much frustration and tedium as entertainment.
The film mainly focuses on a vampire couple Z (Alex Spears) and X (Vanessa de Largie), which if the credits didn't identify the audience would be hard pressed to deduce. Like most of the other characters, their names are never uttered on screen. Conveniently, Z has a letter "z" tattooed on his neck, and X has sports a similar marking. They are apparently very old, and quite a bit world weary. They do little besides wander around the city, stare meaningfully into space and kill people. (During one killing session, they strip nude, but not during other killings. Hence, the sexiness.) At this last they are aided on occasion by a hirsute, philosophy spouting cannibal and a young Asian girl, identified in the credits as Seers (Patrick Boyle) and Vee (Hai Ha Lee). Vee appears to have been turned by Z and X (though she still lives with her father and brother) but Seers simply helps them out to gain convenient access to human flesh.
There isn't much to the plot, and what is there tends to be obscure because the dialogue is often hard to make out over the intrusive soundtrack music. At one point a French woman stops by the warehouse that Z and X call home to denounce them and ask that they stop killing people. She seems to be a vampire, and to have originally turned Z and X into vampires. Or maybe not. Like the half dozen or so other nameless characters in the film, she drifts in, then drifts out, without contributing much information and doing barely anything at all.
There seems to be some kind of struggle going on. Perhaps other vampires are in the city, and maybe someone hunting them. But it's hard to say for certain. The audience is constantly confused. The dialogue is minimal. The events and characters disconnected, and their motivations and actions often indecipherable. The film is inventively photographed, but this hardly makes up for the lack of dramatic tension. A Nocturne is a meandering stroll, without destination or clearly defined route. It is sometimes nice to look at. Z and X are both attractive people. The performances are respectable, at least the main players, though some of them do tend toward either understated, or over-theatrical at the other end. But viewers generally desire a clearly defined conflict, or at least a fun ride. A Nocturne provides nothing of the sort. It feels like unrelated scenes pasted together, with no unifying structure. This is at most a film to rent, and with few expectations.
A Nocturne Trailer
There is also one Easter egg. When in the extras menu, if you press the down arrow on your remote past the last of the listed extras, you will be treated to nearly four minutes of a (seemingly) drunk Lloyd Kaufman ranting about luck and conversing with a Leprechaun. Ah, Troma.