Byzantium: the new vampire story


At least director Neil Jordan does not think so… ! In fact, his last movie presented at the Toronto International Film Festival is the story of two female vampires. Forget the Twilights and the True Bloods series, this is an all new kind of story and the vampire myth is reinvented completely.

Gemma Arterton and Saoirse Ronan play 200 year-old vampires. The story covers two-time periods. The movie begins nowadays, Eleanor (Saoirse Ronan) is a 16 years old girl born in 1804 cursed to live forever at this age. The main difference with other vampires is that she only kills people who seek the release of death. Eleanor has a “friend” Clara (Gemma Arterton) that she calls her “muse”.

Clara is the complete opposite of Eleanor, while the first one is volatile and trashy, the second one is introspective and burdened by secrets. As the story goes by we find out, during the different flashbacks happening in the movie, that Clara turns out to be Eleanor’s mother. We also learn how they became vampires and why they’ve been running since and from whom.

Yet, here is another vampire movie, different from the others since it concentrates on a relationship between a mother and her daughter, among other love stories…

The script (written by Moira Buffini who also wrote Tamara Drew and Jane Eyre) is disappointing when it comes to the relationship between the mother and the daughter. In fact, the bond lacks of a deep connection and the story is not always that clear…

Flavia Nicolò

(12 settembre 2012)

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