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Byzantium (2013)



Average Rating: 6.4/10
Reviews Counted: 102
Fresh: 63 | Rotten: 39

Director Neil Jordan remains as expert as ever when it comes to setting a chilling mood, but Byzantium struggles to match its creepily alluring atmosphere with a suitably compelling story.


Average Rating: 6.2/10
Critic Reviews: 28
Fresh: 14 | Rotten: 14

Director Neil Jordan remains as expert as ever when it comes to setting a chilling mood, but Byzantium struggles to match its creepily alluring atmosphere with a suitably compelling story.



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Movie Info

BYZANTIUM is director Neil Jordan's (Interview with the Vampire, The Crying Game) sexy and stylish fantasy thriller about mother and daughter vampires dealing with the pitfalls of eternal life. Two mysterious women seek refuge in a run-down coastal resort. Clara (Gemma Arterton) meets lonely Noel (Daniel Mays), who provides shelter in his deserted guesthouse, Byzantium. Schoolgirl Eleanor (Saoirse Ronan, Hanna, Atonement) befriends Frank (Caleb Landry Jones) and tells him their lethal secret:

Oct 29, 2013


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All Critics (102) | Top Critics (28) | Fresh (63) | Rotten (39) | DVD (2)

Jordan is no stranger to the yearnings of vampires. He directed Interview With the Vampire. But Byzantium is a kinder, gentler yet pretty durn bloody affair.

July 12, 2013 Full Review Source: Denver Post
Denver Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Go ahead, bite.

July 12, 2013 Full Review Source: Detroit News
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A drama that feels both strenuously earnest and impossible to take seriously.

July 12, 2013 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Byzantium has a few moves that might surprise you. They have nothing to do with blood, but everything to do with the heart.

July 11, 2013 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A confusing yet eye-pleasing tale that struggles to breathe new life into the well-worn mythology.

July 11, 2013 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Neil Jordan's sensitive and very slow exploration of vampire angst. That the film also seems intended as some kind of vampire feminist statement makes it a rare combination of mildly boring and mildly hilarious.

July 5, 2013 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As the feature jumps backwards and forwards in time, and stories within stories coalesce, a striking tapestry is woven illustrating a world where eternal beings struggle with great change. Jordan's vampiric universe is bloody, adult, and melancholy.

November 25, 2013 Full Review Source: Quickflix

Clara becomes more the subject of Jordan's empathy than the object of his lust (although there's some of that, too).

November 4, 2013 Full Review Source: Film Comment Magazine
Film Comment Magazine

It's stylish and gory, with excellent performances and a similarly grim approach to the life of a vampire. And it's not really a scary movie, although, whatever it is, it's a good one.

October 30, 2013 Full Review Source: Madison Movie
Madison Movie

A gory Gothic thriller whose departures from traditional horror lore give the overworked vampire genre a rejuvenating transfusion of new blood.

September 30, 2013 Full Review Source: Movie Talk
Movie Talk

There might be some sort of muddled feminist moral to all this, but by the time the overlong Gothic happenings conclude (with a nicely bloody finale), it's hard to recall what it might have been.

September 24, 2013 Full Review Source: Oregonian

Byzantium is a connoisseur's vampire film; a vintage red.

September 20, 2013 Full Review Source: SFX Magazine
SFX Magazine

Jordan's customarily stylish and elegant direction carries the film, and he's aided by the leads' outstanding performances...

August 15, 2013 Full Review Source:

With its share of haunting imagery, it's sporadically unsettling but never truly frightening.

July 22, 2013 Full Review Source:

New vampire movie lacks bite

July 19, 2013 Full Review Source: Movie Habit
Movie Habit

This extremely elegant fantasy has roots in a plausible situation: maybe vampires don't exist, but there has been a child or two raised by a do such children get their experience into words, get past the shame? Who will believe them?

July 17, 2013 Full Review Source: MetroActive

With a magnetic performance from Saoirse Ronan, a surprisingly excellent performance from Gemma Arterton, and a deliciously peculiar spin on familiar lore, Byzantium is a refreshing take on vampires.

July 13, 2013 Full Review Source:

Jordan, true to form, moves fluidly between past and present toward an archly frenetic finale.

July 13, 2013 Full Review Source: Salt Lake Tribune
Salt Lake Tribune

Byzantium offers a twist or two on the traditional vampire mythology ... but otherwise [its] gothic atmosphere and air of tragedy feel awfully familiar.

July 11, 2013 Full Review Source: The Dissolve
The Dissolve

A vampire-hybrid movie: moody and compelling with terrific performances from Gemma Arterton and Saoirse Ronan.

July 11, 2013 Full Review Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer
Cleveland Plain Dealer

The film doesn't offer the terror of some vampire stories or the swooning romance of others, but does provide a supernaturally tinged vampire tale for grown-ups.

July 10, 2013 Full Review Source:

Audience Reviews for Byzantium

Byzantium will test the patience for some horror movie fans, particularly those who enjoy cheap boo scares every two minutes. But if you let this (slightly underdeveloped) story work its magic on you, it has a few pleasantly innovative twists up its sleeve.
March 6, 2014

Super Reviewer

Neil Jordan's second Vampire film, much like his first (Interview with a Vampire) is a visual feast. The modern day neon lights contrasting against the candlelit depictions of the early 1800s work brilliantly visually, while the script and story show how life has changed very little in the time between. I'm a big fan of Neil Jordan so it's nice to see the beginnings of a return to form. That might sound harsh but he is one of the best directors working today in my opinion and the films he made in the 90's really did raise the standards. Who would have thought a Vampire film set in Hastings would be so successful? My only criticism would be some of the casting choices. I think Saoirse Ronan is great and I really like Daniel Mays who I believe is woefully underrated. I liked Gemma Arterton less in this but that might have something to do with her car-alarm sounding voice rather than her acting. Sam Riley and Jonny Lee Miller are criminally underused and I really don't know what to make of Caleb Jones yet other than I'm not sure he was right for this part. In conclusion though, a great little alternative Vampire flick.
February 26, 2014

Super Reviewer

3 3/4's--The director does a good job of creating a brooding, dark, and foreboding atmosphere. The storyline keeps you interested, as the story of the two vampires slowly unfolds. I liked how they focused on the human aspect of vampires, and the mythology was different and interesting. I am a vampire movie fan, and I have been getting tired of the teeny bopper vampire genre. This was definitely a step above...
February 18, 2014

Super Reviewer

I seriously don't know why this film's so dark and gloomy. It's taking itself too seriously when it's not even interesting.
January 16, 2014

Super Reviewer

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Latest News on Byzantium

October 30, 2013:
Digital Multiplex: Byzantium, Prince Avalanche, and More
Yet another week with just a few choices in streaming video, and none of them are particularly big...
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