Byzantium Movie Reviews
User reviews on Byzantium
This is a fantasy thriller about mother and daughter vampires dealing with the pitfalls of eternal life. I quite liked this film and even though it had some flaws I still had a pretty good time watching it. The film is very poetic and romantic but not in a sappy or melodramatic way and I really appreciated that. I think that the atmosphere that was created in the film was amazing and lush and I thought the film was very sexy. Overall, this film is not a must see on the big screen but I suggest watching it at the comfort of your home.
Bring on the blood! Or should I say bring on the cheese, because this movie is oozing in the mush and smush that gets teenagers oohing and aahing at how amazing it is that vampires can find love with human beings with such intensity and regularity. Allow me to roll my eyes . . . lol. The best reason to see this is because the movie does try to give a different spin to a very old formula (at least if you're just thinking of the last decade of movies). The relationship between the two female vampires is what really makes the movie interesting, especially since the whole love angle is not all that different from the Twilight stories. Special mention should also go to the cinematographer who did an exceptional job. The movie has a dark and bleak feel to it but it is really wonderfully captured by the camera. The technical aspects definitely exceed the narrative ones here.
Witches, wizards, warlocks, vampires, centaurs, mermaids . . . and humans! Get used to seeing all of these mythological beings routinely falling in love with homo sapiens because if the Twilight and Harry Potter movies proved anything, it's that these stories aren't going anywhere. Soairse Ronan turns in a really great performance as the young vampiress in the film. She just has that whole innocent/wide eyed thing going for her that just makes her a very expressive actress. I also liked how her character would clash with the cold protector Clara (Gemma Arterton) who doesn't care for humans after they have been trying to flee and protect themselves from the murderous race for the last few centuries. The movie tends to get kind of violent in parts but that makes it exciting. This would eve be a good date movie if you can stomach another tween vampire romance.
First things first: Byzantium is not the innovatory piece of filmmaking you might expect from the director who brought us The Crying Game and Interview with the Vampire. It’s definitely a case of old wine in a new bottle. But just because the wine is old doesn’t mean it can’t intoxicate – and intoxicate Byzantium does with its fine mix of mystery, drama, and stunning cinematography.
Eleanor (Saoirse Ronan) and Clara (Gemma Arterton) are the two vampire heroines of the story. They have spent the last 200 hundred years running for their lives and feasting on the blood of others in a bid to stay alive. It’s a conundrum for two women who were simply born into the forms that both sustain and curse them.
They end up in the modern day seeking refuge in the crumbling Byzantium home of Noel (Daniel Mays) who is kind and open minded. Soon, the young Eleanor falls for a human boy named Frank whom she hopes she can trust with her secret/burden. The human-vampire romance will not die a death any time soon.
The movie, based on the screenplay by Moira Buffini which is also adapted from her play, is lyrical even when it isn’t particularly inventive. The movie benefits greatly from the foundation of violence and oppression on which the story rests – something that movies like Twilight found convenient to ignore.