Sunday, 24 February 2013

Byzantium

"Byzantium" (2012, Neil Jordan) is a vampire film with a difference, but also still a very classic feel.

Neil Jordan has brought classical vampirism to us before in the form of "Interview with a Vampire" and he was also behind "High Spirits", a ghost comedy based in Ireland, that I still love.

The film follows a mother and daughter vampire duo who are constantly forced to move home to avoid detection. They are also on the run from the male orientated vampire 'brotherhood', who do not wish for them to live. They find refuge in a seaside town and try to set up life there, but it isn't long before everything begins to unravel.

An artful film, this slow burner focuses well on the difficult situation that eternal teenager, Eleanor (Saoirse Ronan) has to face in school and in her lonely life. This character is interesting and I really thought Ronan's performance was excellent. Also, at the Q&A session afterwards she was very charming and very happy to give her own insight into the character. Eleanor seeks companionship, and wants to tell her story. She is more of an Angel of Death than a killer.

Her 'sister', actually her mother, is also the eternally young and beautiful Clara (Gemma Arterton) who was forced into the life of a whore as a young girl before becoming one of the undead, and seems to have been unable to shake the lifestyle. She provides for her daughter, but is much too stuck in her dark lifestyle to make Eleanor happy.


The film challenges the general modern day lore for vampires; no fangs and daylight is not an issue, but don't worry, it's not Twilight-y, the vampires are actually a little scary. The film hints at females being able to reproduce, whereas vampires are otherwise selected by the Brotherhood and are created at an ancient site inside a stone hut, where houses, what I expect to be the mother of all vampires.

I found the film arty but a little dull, and while it has a lot of charms, it didn't quite do as well as "Let The Right One In" did. Worthwhile watching, but not one I'd probably watch again.


Hani