Byzantium – 2/5 stars

I’ve been a bit off with my reviews recently.  That’s my fault – life is one big interruption.

But with any luck, I can get back into the swing of things…by recapping some of the films I didn’t have a chance to put up.

First of all, Byzantium (warning: spoilers!)

After this whole pop culture phase of modern vampires, yet another twist on the genre is not necessarily a good thing as it just disrupts the whole mythology for the sake of modern audiences.  So, when there is a British film about vampires directed by the guy who made 1994’s Interview with the Vampire, it shouldn’t be that bad – right?

– the story of mother and daughter Clara and Eleanor (Gemma Arterton and Saoirse Ronan respectively) vampires who have survived 200 years, drifting from town to town.  As they find themselves on the coast, their fight for survive is compromised as their past catches up with them.

First of all – it’s another strand of vampires…which, let’s face it, has gone through enough in the last few years.
In Jordan’s film, walk in daylight, no fangs, no stakes and no sires. Everything about it screams unconventional and it is one of the many reasons why Twilight is a travesty in the genre.  It is difficult to try to understand to this aspect of the story, especially when Clara and Eleanor seem to be quite open with what they are; they openly drink from victims, leave corpses around and then to reveal their identity to someone?  It’s just a mess waiting to happen.  Also, the theme of gender politics is outdated – the idea of men only allowed to be immortal, and women are only shown to be used and abused?  It all sounds a bit misogynistic, to be honest.

Ironic it seems, that the screen time is dominated by the female characters of this tale.  Arterton puts on a gutsy portrayal of Clara’s ‘tart with a heart (who could kill you with a swipe of her thumb)’ and Ronan is her usual innocent, yet poetic self – all the while bringing a quiet ruthlessness in choosing her practically willing victims.  Eleanor’s subplot with young leukaemia sufferer Frank (Caleb Landry Jones) is sweetly done and is probably one of the standout parts in the film.  Although his references to traditional folklore and the bleak setting of the English coast may sound on good on paper, it is easy to get lost in Jordan’s slow-paced, almost drifting sense of direction – bringing the old back into the new.

Overall, Byzantium is an average film – the performances, story and direction are all watchable, but anti-Twihards may not embrace its unconventional approach to vampirism.

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