BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELL
JUNE 29, 2013
“Byzantium” is a gorgeous vampire film in recent memory, starring a small niche of talented actors and actresses with bright and successful futures ahead of them. By far, Saoirse Ronan is the most skilled actress of her generation, with each performance, delivered bringing her closer and closer to that showstopping performance of her career. As a young vampire, Elanor Webb has an itch to tell her story after centuries on the run with her harlot of a mother, the uber attractive Gemma Arterton.
Landing in a small town and living in a dilapidated old hotel called the Byzantium, we learn of their history before and after becoming vampires through different encounters between them and the mortals with whom they come in contact. We discover about Elanor as she plays piano, feeds on the willing, and writes her biography over and over again, only to throw her words off a balcony or into the ocean. She’s unaware of the brotherhood of vampires, lead by a robust Sam Riley, hunting them as they move from city to city.
The chemistry between Arterton and Ronan as mother and daughter stuck together for eternity carried the film. Ronan’s void looks and deep thoughts are reminiscent of her alien-inhabited role in “The Host” but with a passion and motivation lacking in that film. “Byzantium” is sexy and stylish despite its surroundings and is helped mostly by Arterton’s promiscuous yet kind nature. The plot captures your attention in flashbacks and missing pieces of the puzzle, filled with each little story told. Neil Jordan makes an impressive return to the vampire lore, producing an even more entertaining fantasy than his previous endeavor, “Interview with a Vampire.”
June 28, 2013
by Moira Buffini
(for bloody violence, sexual content and language)
Caleb Landry Jones
William D. Johnson