Release Date
June 28, 2013
Director
Neil Jordan
Screenplay
Moira Buffini
Distributed By
IFC Films
Budget
$9 million
Drama, Fantasy, Horror, Thriller
Rated R for bloody violence, sexual content and language
118 minutes

Byzantium
09fourhalf-stars

“Byzantium” is the most gorgeous vampire film in recent memory, starring a small niche of talented actors and actresses with bright and successful futures ahead of them. Saoirse Ronan is by far the most skilled actress of her generation, with each performance delivered bringing her closer and closer to that showstopping performance of her career. As a young vampire, Elanor Webb has an itch to tell her story after centuries on the run with her harlot of a mother, the uber attractive Gemma Arterton.

Landing in a small town and living in a dilapidated old hotel called the Byzantium, we learn of their history before and after becoming vampires through different encounters between them and the mortals they come in contact with. We learn about Elanor as she plays piano with perfection, feeds on only those that invite her to, and writes her biography over and over again, only to throw her words off a balcony or into the ocean. She’s unaware of the brotherhood of vampires, lead by a strong Sam Riley, hunting them as they move from city to city.

The chemistry between Arterton and Ronan as mother and daughter stuck together for eternity carried the film. Ronan’s void looks and deep thoughts are reminiscent of her alien-inhabited role in “The Host” but with a passion and motivation lacking in that film. “Byzantium” is sexy and stylish despite its surroundings and helped mostly by Arterton’s promiscuous, yet kind nature. The plot captures your attention in flashbacks and missing pieces of the puzzle, filled in with each little story told. Neil Jordan makes an impressive return to the vampire lore, producing an even more entertaining fantasy than his previous endeavor, “Interview with a Vampire”.

 

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