2012, Movies

Byzantium (2012, Neil Jordan)

This is a fascinating revisionist vampire film that takes a different approach to an over-done genre in more than one way. It’s not a great movie, necessarily, but it’s a neat twist on a tired genre and it’s worth watching if you are interested in vampire films that don’t follow the tired old movie formulas (Dracula or Anne Rice). Super mild SPOILERS

This film (based upon a play) is revisionist in two ways:

  1. Vampires are created in a different way (at least in part) than they are in the other vampire stories I’m aware of. And it feels like this idea could be a font for a whole different mythology of vampires.
  2. The rules of this particularly poorly named vampire Brotherhood (seriously) are a neat little dig at the way men have treated women throughout history.

I appreciate the revisionism and mostly appreciate the telling; it’s nice to look at and the cast is excellent. I also was pretty compelled by the story. It’s also impressive that this was once a play because it really doesn’t feel like it was a play. Either the adaptation expanded the story, or the film version of the play is inspired.

I do have one or two quibbles which I think would have bothered me more had I not enjoyed the rest of the film:

  • There are rather a lot of plot wholes which, if you think about them, leave you with a lot of questions. Now, that’s probably true of many vampire films, but there does feel like there are more plot holes than necessary and they could have bothered to answer a few of them, instead of leaving them open.
  • The other thing is that the film is a little over the top at times, particularly a couple of shots which feel way too over-done for the rest of the tone of the film.
  • Finally, that flashback within a flashback is generally something I can’t abide, even though I generally liked the movie.


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