Film Review – Byzantium (2012)


Title – Byzantium (2012)

Director – Neil Jordan (The Crying Game)

Cast – Saoirse Ronan, Gemma Arterton, Sam Riley, Caleb Landry-Jones, Johnny Lee Miller

Plot – Vampire mother and daughter duo Clara (Arterton) and Eleanor (Ronan) have lived hundreds of years moving some town to town and making ends meet with all manners of business ventures. When they relocate to a small seaside town Eleanor decides she no longer wants to lie and lets Frank (Landry-Jones) in on her dangerous secret.

“I write of what I cannot speak, the truth. I write all I know of it, then I throw that pages to the wind, maybe the birds can read it.”

Review by Eddie on 25/09/2013

Byzantium – a film that wants to work on so many levels yet fails to reach any of them in a successful manner. Director Neil Jordan has a long and distinguished career that sadly ranges from the great – Interview with a Vampire to the horrible – Ondine, the horrible can now include this shoddy looking and cold as a vampire’s heart effort.

Byzantium wants to be a film where we the audience feel some type of connection to mother daughter vampire duo Clara and Eleanor played with a ranging success rate by Arterton as the doting mother and Ronan as the seriously morbid Eleanor. For the film to achieve its goals it needed these two vamps to be a whole lot more enduring, the film just makes it to hard to care for these two ancient specimens. Byzantium comes off as a “emo” update on the vampire lore.

The main plot point of the film is that poor old Eleanor wants to tell the truth now, it doesn’t owe much to have that amount of story in a 2 hour arc. Jordan tries to spice this central conceit up with flashbacks and romantic subplots all of which fall as flat as deflated balloon. Nothing else secondary in film works either from Caleb Landry Jones awkward performance as Frank through to Johnny Lee Miller and Sam Riley’s British soldiers.

Byzantium is one of those films where you find it hard to review due to just how lacklustre the whole thing was, when a films not even enjoyable to dismiss there is something bad going on! Like cinema audiences did upon release it’s better to not sink your teeth into this laboured cheap looking entry into the every growing catalogue of vampire tales.

1 conveniently placed jumping castle out of 5

7 responses to “Film Review – Byzantium (2012)

  1. And the complete opposite of this review, can be found on my blog if you guys are interested. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head for quite a few things lately, guys—however I feel you missed the boat on this one. My favorite film critic finds this to be one of the best movies of the year—I agree. Cheers! ML

    • Interesting thoughts there Mark – I just couldn’t bite into this one! I caught this with another viewer and they to thought it was truly fangless. I believe it will be a film that splits between love or hate and not much in between.

  2. Though I didn’t hate it quite so much, I do find myself agreeing with everything you have said. There was potential here, such as the idea of being immortal and why, but this film is a total mess and extremely lazy in every way. Neil Jordan should know better. The potentially solid cast are all pretty poor too, Tom Hollander maybe the exception.

    • That’s more than likely what made me so angry about this picture, it had so much potential and could of just been an original classic. I felt it was last filmmaking on Jordan’s part for sure.

  3. Pingback: The Best and Worst of 2013: Eddie’s Take | Jordan and Eddie (The Movie Guys)·

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