Byzantium (2012) starring Saoirse Ronan, Gemma Arterton, Sam Riley, Jonny Lee Miller, Daniel Mays directed by Neil Jordan Movie Review

Byzantium (2012)   2/52/52/52/52/5

Saoirse Ronan in Byzantium (2012)


For two centuries Clara (Gemma Arterton) and her daughter Eleanor (Saorise Ronan) have lived on the run together as they are constantly hunted down by the Brotherhood, a group of male vampires. After the latest close shave where one of the brotherhood found where Clara was working as a stripper the mother and daughter flee the city and head to a small coastal town where the run down guest house Byzantium resides, run by Noel (Daniel Mays). Whilst Clara convinces Noel to let her turn Byzantium into a brothel Eleanor finds herself not only confronted by memories of the past but also becoming close to Frank (Caleb Landry Jones), a sickly teenager.

Look, I am no expert on the mythology of vampires but it guess when it comes to movies you can do what you like; so if you want them to have skin piercing nails instead of fangs then so be it and if you want them to be able to move around in the sun then so be it. Maybe there is a technical name for this breed of blood sucker but when it comes down to it they are just a variant on vampires. And that is why Neil Jordan's plodding "Byzantium" is, it is a variant on the typical vampire movie as we have Clara and her daughter who is perpetually 16 but not than sweet.

Gemma Arterton in Byzantium (2012)

Anyway what goes on in "Byzantium" didn't do a great deal for me as whilst the last thing I wanted was it to be "Twilight" I wanted some blood to coarse through its veins to make it attention grabbing. But it never does because it seems the intention is to explore the characters from Clara being a more outward character always looking to enjoy life whilst Eleanor is haunted by her memories which she cannot rid herself off, which gives us the back story to these characters through a series of flashbacks. But my god are these characters the most uninteresting you will come across. If the intention was for us to feel sympathy for them and in particular Eleanor then it failed completely.

The things is that whilst both Gemma Arterton and Saorise Ronan play their parts well their characters are so uninteresting that "Byzantium" becomes dead boring. And being dead boring you don't find yourself caring for them and the fact that Eleanor is cursed by not being able to forget her past. Maybe for those who watch Neil Jordan's vampire movie not bothered by the vampire side of things and can focus on the characters and in particular the relationship between Clara and Eleanor may find this a much richer movie but if you can't thin simply ends up slow going and hard work.

What this all boils down to is that "Byzantium" was not for me and it came across as a painfully slow movie which is more interested in character relationships than vampires which if you watch because it is billed as a vampire movie makes it laboured.

Tags: Vampire Movies