Director: Neil Jordan
Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Gemma Arterton, Sam Riley, Jonny Lee Miller
Release Date: Now Available on Blu-Ray & DVD
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 8/10
Disc Rating: 7.5/10
Residents of a coastal town learn, with deathly consequences, the secret shared by the two mysterious women who have sought shelter at a local resort.
‘Byzantium’ creates an intricate and emotional tale about a mother and daughter vampire pair and the story of their existence in addition to everything that existence has caused them. This is a vampire tale very unlike the usual films and shows we have seen lately which manages to stay true to some common ideas regarding vampires, while completely dispensing with others and somehow still managing to make a truly remarkable and beautiful vampire story with some real heart and originality that focuses for the most part about the relationship between a mother and daughter and their constant struggles just to survive in the world as what they are. Sure there are romantic relationships developed throughout as well, but I thought it was truly refreshing to not have it be the front and center focus of the story as is far too often the case, if not almost always in vampire stories. The scenery and imagery in ‘Byzantium’ is truly beautiful and a marvel to the eye. There were a number of sequences that put a grin on my face simply from the sheer beauty of the imagery on screen.
Neil Jordan (Interview With The Vampire) directs the film written from a screenplay by Moira Buffini which she adapted from her own play ‘A Vampire Story.’ The performances all around are pretty impressive if not in some cases fantastic. Gemme Arterton and Saoirse Ronan both give powerful performances, though I must say that I found the two best performances to be that of Caleb Landry Jones (Antiviral) who plays Ronan’s love interest, and Jonny Lee Miller (Hackers, Mindhunters, TV’s Elementary) who does an extraordinary job as a sadistic soldier and womanizer who is also really the key villain to the story in many ways.
‘Byzantium’ is a breath of fresh air as far as vampire stories go. It is original, beautiful, emotional and truly a fantastic film for the most part. If you are a fan of vampire films with some actual heart and originality you are likely to enjoy ‘Byzantium’ quite a bit. I would highly recommend giving it a shot.
The Blu-Ray release of ‘Byzantium’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.35:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. As is most commonly the case, the video transfer on the Blu-Ray looks superb. The picturesque landscapes and all of the wonderful imagery that truly helps to contribute to the magnificence of this film is displayed beautifully here and everyone should be more than pleased with this gorgeous video presentation.
The Blu-Ray release features a lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. Some moments throughout the film are quite tame as far as the soundtrack goes, but there are equal moments where things really hit full force and when this occurs you can really appreciate this impressive lossless soundtrack. The bass is not afraid to hit full force, and the rear channels are perfectly utilized and additionally really help to amplify the film’s soundtrack which in itself is certainly one of its biggest strengths in my opinion. The fellow audiophiles out there should be quite content with this lossless DTS-HD MA soundtrack.
The Blu-Ray release of ‘Byzantium’ only includes a couple of special features. The one special feature of note is a number of interviews included with those involved in the production of the film. The films trailer is included on the release as well.
Film Rating: 8/10
Disc Rating: 7.5/10
‘Byzantium’ is now available to own on Blu-Ray & DVD from IFC Films & MPI Media Group.