Parents' Guide to


By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Blood, innuendo in stylish, moody vampire tale.

Movie R 2013 118 minutes
Byzantium Poster Image

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Director Neil Jordan's films have a moody, patient, quiet quality that, even if it can't cover up for weak or ordinary material, enhances his best work. That characteristic definitely lends itself to non-realistic and supernatural subjects like The Company of Wolves, Interview with the Vampire, and the romantic Ondine. BYZANTIUM likewise works because of this style, and although it doesn't exactly reinvent the genre, it least offers a fresh, reflective take.

The movie is definitely gory, but Jordan focuses more on the moods and textures of vampirism. A dropped, blood-soaked handkerchief becomes an object of allure, more so than any flesh-and-blood victim. Various potent physical spaces, especially the seaside, reflect the characters' innermost emotions. Jordan also relishes the physical touch of skin, both erotic and violent. Certainly many viewers will bemoan a certain lack of romance in this approach, but for the adventurous, Byzantium is a lovely thing of dark poetry.

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