Over the last decade we have certainly seen virtually everything that can be done with vampires, haven't we?
Well 'Byzantium' to my knowledge doesn't have any sparkling vamps or have bottled blood readily available but brings us a darker, sinister tale of a throw back to when vampires were considered monsters and not the highly desired creatures recent works have created. I have to say that I am a little bias due to having a soft stop for fangs (expect 'Twilight' - sorry just didn't do it for me) although if you are after a racey supernatural film full of biting and sex then you maybe wondering what you have got yourself in for. Yes, this film has all the above with some very gory sequences but not to the extend of what we have seen previously. The plot is very slow and doesn't really pick up which I, at first, had to persevere with but I am glad I stuck it out. Think, 'Let the Right one in' with the bleak comedic value of, 'Interview with the Vampire' (same director) and throw in two, 200 year old vampires who are trying to keep their secret in the modern world, which isn't kept for long - and of course there are consequences.
The two leading ladies, Clara (Gemma Arterton) and Eleanor Webb (Saoirse Ronan) both bring superb performances to screen, complicated characters that you don't understand nor relate to throughout the film, alas I think that is one of the aspects of the film which makes it so special. To go up against all the recent vampire stories is a feat of it's own but to have such a spin on it really paid off for 'Byzantium'. Trying to survive in the modern world and hide who they are is pretty tricky when you need human blood to survive; but Clara sells herself to make her way and who would look for such a person if they were to go missing eh? Up to a point they get away with it, until the past catches up and poor Eleanor finds their secret too much to handle. I am not going to tell you that you will be hooked after the title's but I will say that if you take in this story, actually listen and think about what is happening, rather than just watch you will not be disappointed by what you have just seen. Blood, sex, deceit, seduction and most importantly the truth of what being a vampire is all about - 'Byzantium' said to be an ancient Greek city, terribly fitting for such an ancient creatures story to be retold.
Directed by Neil Jordan
118mins, 15 (2013)
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