Filmmaker Neil Jordan returns with another vampire movie nearly two decades after the release of Interview with the Vampire. Byzantium stars Saoirse Ronan as Eleanor, a nomadic vampire who likes drinking the blood of the elderly. They treat her as an angel of deliverance.
Eleanor wants to write her life story and share it to the world. It is the opposite with her guardian Clara (Gemma Arterton). She wants to keep their private lives as private as possible, especially when the brotherhood of vampires is after them.
Saoirse Ronan has the face the makes an ideal vampire. It is somber as a death mask but her eyes show the soul trapped within. Her acting in Byzantium is perfect. Gemma Arterton delivers a solid performance and she compliments Ronan well.
Director Jordan and writer Moira Buffini tells tales within tales. Each vampire has a story to tell and they are interesting. Buffini also wrote the play from which the movie is based on. The direction and cinematography are great.
Byzantium has a revisionist theme. The females in the movie fight for their right to satisfy their appetites. They are not bound by the myths regarding female vampires. They can live normal lives in daylight and are visible in mirrors. It avoided vampire movie clichés. But a group of male vampires are hunting them down to eliminate them.
The movie is more of a romantic movie than a horror one. This might turn off some genre fans but it is a breath of fresh air for movie buffs in general. The amount of blood in Byzantium is kept at a minimum. The almost two hours of running time is well spent.
Byzantium is a hit that must be watched. It shows how vampires should be. If you like sparkly ones then don’t watch this.