Laurence Phelan: Byzantium - Atmospheric Brit vampire movie has bite
Friday 31 May 2013
Eleanor and Clara Webb and are two eternally youthful vampires – or revenants, as this film calls them – who have been locked into a co-dependent relationship for 200 years but now follow different narrative paths.
Eleanor (Saoirse Ronan), the marginally younger of the two, is an introvert who wears duffel coats, plays Debussy, muses in flowery prose about memory and history, only drinks the blood of elderly people who are ready to die, and is tortured by the impossibility of an ordinary teenage romance.
Her story is clearly calculated to appeal to Twilight fans. Her saviour and protector Clara (Gemma Arterton), meanwhile, is neither so fearful of human contact nor so discriminate about whom she kills. She wears suspenders and basques and works in strip clubs and brothels. Her part of the story is clearly calculated to appeal to fans of Gemma Arterton in her underwear.
As a result, Byzantium has lots to offer but an uncomfortably split personality: equal parts emo teen drama and high-gloss horror. It also leaves its attempt to reposition itself as a feminist fable far too late.
Still, the cinematography by Sean Bobbitt, who shot The Place Beyond the Pines and Steve McQueen's films and Hunger and Shame, beautifully highlights both the neon buzz and the blue-grey drizzle of the south- coast seaside town where most of the action takes place: Hastings has never looked more glamorous or more depressing on film before.
After giving gay film R-rating despite no sex or violencefilm
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Notting Hill Carnival: Woman shares selfie after being ‘punched in face for telling man to stop groping her’
- 2 Miley Cyrus' homeless MTV VMAs date, Jesse Helt, is wanted by the police
- 3 Pamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals: 'Mice had holes drilled into their skulls'
- 4 Homer Simpson has taken the ALS ice bucket challenge because of course he has
- 5 Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
Led Zeppelin's Whole Lotta Love voted Greatest Guitar Riff of all time
Doctor Who lesbian kiss sparks Ofcom complaints over 'weird lesbian-lizard perv trip'
Nicki Minaj suffers wardrobe malfunction during MTV VMAs performance with Ariana Grande and Jessie J
Homer Simpson has taken the ALS ice bucket challenge because of course he has
Beyonce MTV VMAs feminist performance: Twitter reacts to singer's 'double standard'
Exclusive: We share blame for creating 'jihad generation', says Muslim strategist
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Jeremy Clarkson is a cultural tumour and needs to be removed, says comedian Frankie Boyle
Air strikes? Talk of God? Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script after James Foley beheading
- < Previous
- Next >