Byzantium

Joined: 5:56 PM - Dec 08, 2006

6:10 AM - Nov 10, 2013 #1

I watched Byzantium tonight on disc.  This is a great vampire movie, and while there are a lot of vampire movies I've liked, even recent ones like 30 Days of Night, this may be my favorite since 1943's Son of Dracula.  If you have a chance to rent this on disc I'd be interested to see if you agree with me.
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Joined: 9:18 AM - Mar 29, 2007

5:25 PM - Nov 10, 2013 #2

Certainly one of the best I've seen -- maybe just a half-notch below Let the Right One In, which is high praise indeed.
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Joined: 5:56 PM - Dec 08, 2006

11:46 PM - Nov 10, 2013 #3

Yep, Let the Right One In was good, but I think I preferred Byzantium even more. There was a level of --- decay --- to Let the Right One In that was disturbing. That made it a really good horror movie. But the level of thought that went into Byzantium made it a much more satisfying movie for me. And beautifully shot. I know that we're talking about a decent filmmaker when talking about anything that Neil Jordan had done, but more and more I'm finding that the images we're seeing are so far ahead of what we've been used to in the past. Byzantium is nearly as beautifully shot as many of the films that I've thought that about over the past ten years. Like Pride and Prejudice. That looked great. Byzantium looks just as nice.
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Joined: 9:18 AM - Mar 29, 2007

3:18 PM - Nov 12, 2013 #4

Agreed that the film itself is quite sumptuous. I rate it just below Let the Right One In, though, because I found certain plot elements (avoding spoiler territory here) more, shall we say, familiar in the case of Byanztium.
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Joined: 9:18 AM - Mar 29, 2007

5:51 PM - Nov 12, 2013 #5

Of course, quibbling over this embarrassment of riches is sort of like me holding forth on which type of buttermilk pie I like just a smidge better than the other ... 
Last edited by gef the talking mongoose on 6:01 PM - Nov 12, 2013, edited 1 time in total.
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Damascinos
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Joined: 12:17 PM - Nov 28, 2005

6:47 PM - Nov 12, 2013 #6

Agreed. Byzantium is a classic. Perhaps not quite on the level of Let The Right One In, but close enough. Both the acting and the cinematography/production design are first rate.

Plus, there's a well earned and respectful bow to Jordan's vampire film influences that will make Monster Kids smile.
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oldmanster
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Joined: 8:15 AM - Feb 21, 2005

12:05 AM - Jan 05, 2014 #7

Well, I'll add my belated accolades here. I bought a copy of the DVD, watched it with my wife last night. Both of us were VERY impressed by the entire production. My wife has seen both actors before but she isn't as familiar with their names or their body of work (although I have a copy of Hannah). I warned her in advance that Neil Jordan can turn artsy-fartsy now and then, and there were some lyrical shots (the cascading water change of color for example), but this was indeed a very straightforward, serious examination of the effect of everlasting life. Very powerful screenplay, with very good supporting cast, especially Johnny Lee Miller. A big thumbs up from me. Along with Kiss of the Damned, this production bodes well for a new generation of anti-Anne Rice/anti-Twilight vampire films.

... Reed
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Monsterpal
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Joined: 10:01 AM - Jul 05, 2006

8:10 PM - Feb 22, 2014 #8

I caught it last night on cable. It's a great looking, top-notch vampire epic.
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Rick
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Joined: 2:22 PM - Dec 22, 2004

10:50 PM - Feb 22, 2014 #9

This is one that I'm extremely eager to see, mostly because of the Neil Jordan pedigree, but no opportunity for viewing it has yet shown itself.
“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”
~ Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul
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Monsterpal
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Joined: 10:01 AM - Jul 05, 2006

2:24 AM - Feb 23, 2014 #10

Wait'll you get a load of the Byronic look in the scenes set two centuries ago, Rick. It's really quite spectacular.
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Joined: 11:26 AM - Aug 24, 2010

8:05 PM - Feb 23, 2014 #11

I just watched this last night, and it is fantastic. Definitely the best vampire film to come along in awhile, at least since LET THE RIGHT ONE IN. I enjoyed this film even more though, the richly textured visuals and unique vampire mythos will make this a standout for decades to come in my opinion. There are quite a few nods to traditional vampire conventions, and some of the names made me smile, Ruthven in particular.

Rick, if you appreciate Jordan's other films then this one won't disappoint.
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Joe Stemme
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Joined: 6:38 PM - Jul 16, 2013

7:58 PM - Oct 11, 2018 #12

BYZANTIUM is one of those movies where I really like half, and dislike the other.

The basic thrust of Saorise Ronan's Eleanor character's arc is pretty compelling. It's a moody atmospheric vampire tale, with a tragic woman's lit air about it. But, then Gemma Atherton's flashy trashy (blood)-sucker Clara intrudes at times so jarringly that it takes you right out of the slow-burning ambiance. Similarly, Neil Jordan's tastefully sadomasochistic script gets washed with over the top gore. That said, some of the visuals are stunning. I won't soon forget the literal rivers of blood and other sights.

Clara is obviously a critical character, and her flashbacks provide the necessary backdrop, but, that storyline should have been kept as a subplot. No reflection on Atherton (there has rarely been a vampire so alluring physically in cinema!), but, it continually interrupted the flow of the movie for me.

BYZANTIUM certainly fits as a nice double bill with Jordan's INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE, but, it's definitely the lower half. That movie (buoyed by Anne Rice's writing) was more cohesive.
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Bob Meyer
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Joined: 3:25 AM - Jan 12, 2011

12:48 AM - Oct 12, 2018 #13

Thanks for bringing this up again.  I need to revisit it.  I really enjoyed this when it came out and appreciated that it was off the beaten path of modern vampire films.  Big fan of Arterton, and she's really good here.  This was the first movie I saw Saorise Ronan in, and I was amazed at how very, very good she was - she's going to be the Cate Blanchett of her generation, I'm sure.  What was also appealing was that it seemed to have been done on a fairly low budget, yet looked great.  Neil Jordan has done some extraordinary work over the years.

INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE could have been a super-home run - Jordan worked wonders with that one - if it weren't for some very, very poor casting choices.  Pitt and Cruise have done a lot of good work, but were completely wrong for those roles and turned in bad performances to boot.  What a shame.
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Joe Stemme
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Joined: 6:38 PM - Jul 16, 2013

6:27 PM - Oct 12, 2018 #14

Bob Meyer wrote:

INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE could have been a super-home run - Jordan worked wonders with that one - if it weren't for some very, very poor casting choices.  Pitt and Cruise have done a lot of good work, but were completely wrong for those roles and turned in bad performances to boot.  What a shame.
I agree INTERVIEW is more of a double or a triple than a HR, but, as I wrote, it's more cohesive than BYZANTIUM. Rice's tale survived the casting of Cruise.
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Andrew Kidd
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Joined: 6:52 AM - Apr 23, 2005

2:23 AM - Oct 16, 2018 #15

Bob Meyer wrote:

INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE could have been a super-home run - Jordan worked wonders with that one - if it weren't for some very, very poor casting choices.
And that awful Guns N' Roses cover of Sympathy for the Devil!😖
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Bob Meyer
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Joined: 3:25 AM - Jan 12, 2011

2:30 AM - Oct 16, 2018 #16

I actually really liked Guns N' Roses (well...their first couple of albums anyway, even despite the cringe-worthy Axl and his lyrics).  But that song was yet another huge mistake for the movie.  That whole last bit was a mistake.  I blame Studio Executives.
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