Monday, 18 November 2013

Byzantium Review

Byzantium has Neil Jordan the director of Interview with a Vampire tackle his second film featuring vampires and tells the tale of two female vampires who have been 'alive' for over two centuries. Byzantium follows these two vampires as they move to a coastal town and delves into the drawbacks and isolation that such a life could bring along with the obvious advantages such a life would also have.

The two leads are Elenaor whose actress Saoirse Ronan provides for a tremendous performance and Clara whose actress Gemma Arterton provides for a surprisingly strong performance. The characters themselves are notably different with Eleanor viewing her 'condition' more as a curse and longs to be able to connect with other individuals as apposed to the life of isolation she leads. Clara on the other hand reveals in the condition which of course causes conflict between the two individuals. Both characters have there own unique internal struggles which evolve throughout the film in what is an interesting coming of age story that is in many ways made unique by the age of the individuals involved.

With that being said whilst both characters have a rather different view on their condition they undeniably live a rather grim life, which is something I particularly prefer to the often overly glamorized life vampires are often shown to have. Byzantium does feature its fair share of blood however it is oddly more of a back drop for the characters and the situation they find themselves to be in, rather then the focus of the film. Put simply Byzantium is a film more interested in the character relationships present and the conflicts that arise as a result of such a life with little focus on the actual vampiric behavior.

Byzantium is not what many would consider a scary film, rather it is a film that provides for some hauntingly beautiful imagery and is paced deliberately slowly. Thus Byzantium is a film that I imagine will only appeal to a niche of viewers. I however found this take on vampires that focused on there internal struggles whilst completely forgoing any illusion of being a horror film a refreshing and dare I say adult take on what I would contend has essentially become its own genre.

Hence Byzantium comes with my highest recommendation.

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