Saturday, August 16, 2014
Directed By: Neil Jordan
Written By: Moira Buffini
Based on the Play “A VAMPIRE STORY” By: Moira Buffini
Cinematography By: Sean Bobbitt
Editor: Tony Lawson
Cast: Gemma Arterton, Saoirse Ronan, Caleb Landry Jones, Sam Riley, Warren Brown, Johnny Lee Miller,Kate Ashfield, Maria Doyle Kennedy
Two mysterious women seek refuge in a run-down coastal resort. Clara meets lonely Noel, who provides shelter in his deserted guesthouse, Byzantium. Schoolgirl Eleanor befriends Frank and tells him their lethal secret. They were born 200 years ago and survive on human blood. As knowledge of their secret spreads, their past catches up on them with deathly consequence.
This film starts off vividly.
Visually the film is very rich and wisely stays on the side of folklore in a modern setting.
Understand the casting as Saoirse Ronan has piercing eyes that are haunting that seem to glow in the darkness. Almost otherworldly, Yet so big that it's easy to trust her and for her to lure prey. --It's still a mystery to me why Gemma Arterton isn't a star yet. She has the looks and the talent and is downright sexy, but seems to be stuck in films that were supposed to hit. They just didn't or films noteworthy that few saw like THE DISAPPEARANCE OF ALICE CREED.
Though the film contains my one pet peeve. When an explosion or fire occurs maybe out of shock. No one thinks to stop and question the people not paying any attention and walking fast away from the scene.
The film feels like an adaptation of a novel rather than a film. It is full and rich throughout. Has more of a tale of the past. That is more interested than the present. Though the present is there to make us wonder how the characters survived until now.
I believe the film would have been better received in the 80's with its more Feminine side slant on the vampire folklore. That isn't as original and shocking by today's standards. Especially as it keeps It clean and not really racy or controversial.
Maybe it's a failed novel of director Neil Jordan's that eventually he just transformed into a screenplay. Like the notes and dispatches that Saoirse Ronan's character keeps writing. That felt like exquisitely written new chapters. That she seems to passionately wrote out then discard to be treated as trash. Both confession and masterpiece tales, with it's rich backside feels like a small scale epic doubling as a fairytale central to a location.
Though what a tale it is that momentarily truly comes to life with rich visuals.
The film is rife with Jordan's usual obsessions though surprisingly light on religion. Particularly Catholicism which usually tend to be factors In his films. This is actually his second time tackling a vampire tale. Previously he did with a grander vision and budget with INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE.
The film gets more interesting is that the deeper the mystery is revealed. You get more pulled in. Though like a book it gets more engrossing as it goes along. That helps you understand exactly all that is going on truly give you insight into the characters and the stakes they are going through.
Half the dialogue sounds like lines of poetry.
Doesn't hurt I couldn't stop staring at Gemma Arterton anytime she is on Screen
The film seems to follow the philosophy of every action has consequences.
The switch to the regular tales of campaign we have seen before. Here is instead of fangs the vampires have a long thumbnail as sharp and are shaped like a fang.
Though as much as I admired the film I can't say that I totally enjoyed the film.
Caleb Landry Jones seems to keep aspiring to be the next generation brad dourif, As his performance here only helps cement it. With a rich yet quirky characterization, performances that at times feel like they are over the top with Tics, limps and strange movements.
The third act becomes thrilling as all the prices are brought together. But it seems all of a sudden and out of place.
It also strangely works as a story of feminism, fighting back against so called legacies of brotherhood and getting a chance to provide and have their story heard and acknowledged as part of history.
As most of the makes in the film seem sexist though nice guys also seen to meet their demise violently. Though they are supposedly the hands of justice though is the only time the film excites. Throwing her story to the world as the film feels like a tale Ronan's character is or would write.
I am happy by the end It seems to be more of a feminist film that gives them a role in folklore even of the only way I stop being a victim is or then to rebel and break age old rules and legacies.