Byzantium

Byzantium

(2012)

Irresistible, immoral, immortal.

Gemma Arterton (Hansel & Gretel) and Saoirse Ronan (The Host) star in this supernatural vampire thriller as a brothel-operating mother-daughter duo on the run from the law, finding shelter in a run-down coastal town. When residents begin to die, the elusive pair's deadly secrets come to light. From the director of The Crying Game and Interview with the Vampire.... More

Selling her body to make ends meet, the ever-practical Clara (Arterton) soon meets shy and lonely Noel (Daniel May), who provides a roof over their heads in his seedy guesthouse, Byzantium. Clara, always looking towards the future, turns it into a ‘pop-up’ brothel.

Meanwhile Eleanor (Ronan), the eternal schoolgirl, meets Frank (Caleb Landry Jones), a kindred spirit who prompts her to reveal the truth - that she was born in 1804 but is still a teenager, that Clara is her mother yet is only a few years older, and that they must both drink human blood to stay alive. As the residents catch on to the deadly ruse, Eleanor and Clara face the haunting past that finally confronts them.Hide

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Flicks Review

While Neil Jordan’s last film, 2009’s beguiling, wholly underrated sea-nymph tale Ondine, stopped short of marking a full-fledged return to the realm of fantastique where he’s notably contributed with Company of Wolves and Interview with the Vampire, Byzantium is such a return - and his most satisfying and cohesive work in years. One might rush to compare its teenage romance subplot to Twilight, but in truth, the film is closer in its revisionist spirit to Tomas Alfredson’s Let the Right One In... More

Adapted from her own stage play, Moira Buffini’s screenplay offers Jordan ample wiggle room to take liberties with traditional representations of bloodsucking lore. Conspicuously absent are references to stakes, garlic, sunlight-aversion, etc. And instead of fangs, the film’s protagonists - Clara (Gemma Arterton) and Eleanor (Saoirse Ronan), a nomadic mother-daughter pair of “sucrients” who’ve been on the run for 200 years - use their erect thumbnails to draw blood from their victims’ necks. It’s a brutal, inventive method of dispatch that also proves to be more visually dynamic than the ol’ teeth-to-the-jugular.
 
The densely-threaded narrative occasionally gets bogged down during the info-dump flashbacks establishing Clara and Eleanor’s Napoleonic-era origins. But Jordan’s customarily stylish and elegant direction carries the film, and he’s aided by the leads’ outstanding performances, Sean Bobbit’s exquisitely lush cinematography, and deeply atmospheric coastal locations that fully realise the supernatural, moodily poetic possibilities of Byzantium’s world. It’s part Gothic noir, part coming-of-age fable, instilled with refreshingly feminist leanings and topped off with decapitated heads, bloody waterfalls and a dollop of maternal ferocity.
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The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 17 ratings, 23 reviews
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I was interested in the sort of rules that were involved with these types of vampires and found the history of the characters and their choices to be the backbone of the movie, when it came to the final act of the movie the pace picked up which was good but I thought the characters made some strange choices. Great movie


I always like vampire movie. I enjoyed this, something different than the normal stuff... I think it was quite good way for vampire to 'feed'... Not so painful or bloody for the victim :-)


I enjoyed this, a unique take on vampire mythology, entertaining film. Fang you Flicks
(pun obviously intended)


I tend to be more of a shallow popcorn movie lover so I was pleasantly surprised. Some people found it slow but I was totally drawn into the story. Great acting and awesome camerawork. Slight humour in parts just to break the rather bleak but riveting tale. Highly recommended.


BY rosiew superstar

I went in not knowing what to expect, it was a little slow moving towards the beginning but the wait was worth it. When the story started coming together, it was captivating and the cinematography was just beautiful. I would watch this again. I enjoyed the way that the idea of vampires was used in a comfortably unique way and I can't say that it was significantly similar to any other movie. Nice work!


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The Press Reviews

60% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • Jordan, a master of mood, creates an unsettling atmosphere of small-town despair, and the film's sporadic spikes of violence ... are often inventive. Full Review

  • The ideal vampire movie for Twi-hards who've had their hearts broken for the first time and want to move on to a less cosy vision of eternal romance with a side order of addiction. Full Review

  • Arterton's brash performance is arguably a little high-octane yet it balances with Ronan's wounded watchfulness. And Buffini's script has some savoury moments. Full Review

  • Neil Jordan interviews a whole new set of vampires but draws precious little blood. Full Review

  • The appeal is not so much its bite, which could use some refining, but the emotional journey its undead take. In Jordan's hands, the vampires are so very human. Full Review

  • Again and again, as the story shifts between women, times and moods, Mr. Jordan adds a punctuating flourish ... that exquisitely illustrates the once-upon-a-time mood. Full Review

The Talk
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