Sunday, 18 November 2012

Byzantium (2012)

gemma arterton
This see-through, blood-red, tight top with a text motif that reads "SUCK"
looked really good on Gemma Arterton.
Need to find out where to buy one.

At a glance:
While everyone else was busy with the last Twilight instalment, I was thankfully spared that duty this time and found myself at a different kind of vampire movie - West End Films / Neil Jordan's Byzantium (2012). It premiered at TIFF 2012 and was presented by producer Nik Powell at the European Union Film Festival 2012 in Toronto which I attended. The title refers to a disused guesthouse somewhere on England's coasts, where two quibblin young women (Gemma Arterton, Saoirse Ronan), whose relation to each other is unclear, find refuge in the charity of a weak man (Daniel Mays).
Saoirse Ronan. One day I'll be able to say your name right.
Bad news on the doorstep:
There's a reason why this movie didn't warm up to distributors easily, although you can read from Mike Fleming a while ago that it did secure a seven-figure deal at TIFF from IFC, that "the deal coming together is several million dollars in minimum guarantee and marketing commitment... this film has designs on a theatrical release broadening out to several hundred screens." Less commercial than the Irish filmmaker's Brad Pitt starrer Interview With The Vampire (1994), the general consensus I gathered is that while the movie is sober as it is serious, Byzantium, with its underwhelmin poster and all, doesn't project the sort of storytellin energy or tragic vampire pedigree that anyone goin for it would expect. The back-and-forth narrative between centuries don't work as smoothly and ultimately you feel the movie doesn't really know what it is, oscillatin between offbeat, artsy supernatural thriller and intense, mainstream horror-slasher. It's a tad talky at all the wrong times, as well. There are too many distractin elements bein brought to the table. Perhaps it has to pay deference to Moira Buffini’s A Vampire Story - the theatre play from which it's adapted.
Gemma Arterton obliges paparazzi on set.
Perennial wonderment:
Glad to know that the feral, full-figured Gemma Arterton isn't about to cover up, despite havin made it big time. She gets the big studio roles like Prince Of Persia (2010) and Quantum Of Solace (2008), yet she still bares all for indies like The Disappearance Of Alice Creed (2009) and Tamara Drewe (2010). In Byzantium, you'll get plenty of her distractin busom, not to mention frequent out-of-focus shots on her nipples even. As for the mysterious Irish talent Saoirse Ronan, her lovely bones are maturin nicely.
Reminds me of:
Night At The Golden Eagle (2001) meets Let The Right One In (2008), set somewhere near Brighton Rock (2010).
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
Uneven but nevertheless entertainin when goin into spurts and splatters. There's no crucifixes, garlic or fangs in this; and certainly no sparkly speed demons on piggyback either, but you will get several old-school vampire conventions. Best enjoyed without havin read the review. Ha.★★1/2
Bonus material:

Sam Riley seems to have returned to Brighton Rock in a similar guise.

Saoirse Ronan and Gemma Arterton at some TIFF 2012 party.