Byzantium

Picture Courtesy of StudioCanal

Picture Courtesy of StudioCanal

 

What can I say, I’m still a sucker for the vampire movies.  After watching the film, I think about the preview and what it was that drew me in so much.  There were some things I remembered but more things that I didn’t.

The film follows the story of Eleanor Webb, played by Saoirse Ronan.  Eleanor appears to be like any other normal 16 year old girl, except for the fact that she is a 200 years old vampire.  She lives with her real mother Clara Webb (Gemma Arterton) as they travel from place to place trying to hide their secret.  Because of the mother and daughter being frozen in time at their ages it took awhile to discern whether the film meant mother in the birthing sense or in the way of vampire creation.  Eleanor is tired of keeping secrets and longs to tell people the truth.  She constantly writes the story of her life, only to rip the pages and throw them to the wind.  She plays the role of an angel of death, her killings giving a final release instead of an early demise.  Clara was put into the life of a common prostitute, which she continues as a means to provide for them both.  They flee to keep their secret, without knowing that their past is one step behind them.

There are many interesting things about this film.  Every story about vampires has their own telling and gives different qualities to their immortal beings.  Byzantium creates a more human version of a vampire which seems more relatable.  Unfortunately, this also makes these vampires dull a lifeless.  More of a junkie who feeds on blood from time to time rather than a superior immortal creature.  I would like to touch on some of these qualities.  Byzantium’s modern vampires continue with the sun no longer being an issue.  They feed on human blood, but are unable to create a another vampire.  They do not have fangs, instead they have a thumbnail that grows very long and very sharp to help puncture the flesh. They do not seem to have super human strength or abilities.  What confuses me the most is the fact that Clara still whores herself out in order to make money to provide for them.  They do not eat, they do not need to sleep (yet they do) and they are immortal.  Surely they could just find somewhere they want to live, kill whoever lives there and live a seemingly dull existence.  The creator of vampires is an unknown being, located on a strange island inside a cave.  One simply has to walk in, be attacked and die and wake up a vampire.  The cave is on a steep hill that has streams and waterfalls rushing down in every direction.  The water turns to blood once someone has turned.  Another interesting thing is that vampires are a brotherhood.  A men only club who only give out the map with the location of the cave to those worthy.  Woman are not permitted to become vampires which I will leave you to your own conclusions.  It is also not clear what it is that this brotherhood does or what they intent to do.

A lot of the time I try not to spoil a film for you incase it may interest you and you plan on watching it still.  I believe I have left you a few spoilers for the film, but I am also going to suggest that you do not watch this film.  Despite any of the good qualities of the film, it was very dull and even lacked any hunky vampires to help distract you.  It has some interesting ideas and I liked some parts of the films.  I liked Saoirse Ronan and Gemma Arterton, but this is not a movie I will probably ever see again, and I doubt you will ever see at all.

 

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