Byzantium movie poster

Just another pair of pretty faces, Gemma Arterton and the uni-expressional Saoirse Ronan — no match for Interview with a Vampire's Pitt and Cruise - star as mother and daughter vampires in Neil Jordan’s return to the genre that brought him the most commercial success. Jumping back and forth within a 200-year time frame, the film never once reveals its original source, screenwriter Moira Buffini’s stage play. Nor does it bother adhering to vampire lore; mirrors reflect likenesses, detectives pass around wanted photos of the fanged-feeders, and daylight no longer crimps their style. And since when do vampires pick their victims' pockets for spending money? They’re indestructible, and as such can command whatever they want. Suck up the generic inconsistencies, embrace style as substance, and direct your attention to the upscale manner in which Jordan tells his story. You won’t leave hungry. With Daniel Mays, Sam Riley, and the ever harrowing-looking Caleb Landry Jones, perfectly cast against type as not a vampire. 2012.

Scott Marks

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