byzantium-poster

The slow burn of eternity weighs down this effort, which is more of a drama than a thriller.  The film fared poorly at the box office despite being well shot and well acted.  The media world has been inundated with the vampire menace, and these variety don’t have exceptionally magical powers.  They are the working class undead, struggling through afterlife.

Another point that may have sunk the film is that it is a woman’s story, a story of a prostitute and her illegitimate daughter, up against the patriarchy of the old world.  Lead actress Gemma Atherton called it a “post modern feminist” story.  The prostitute/vampire must adapt to sexism in life as well as in the afterlife. One would think the female movie going audience would support such a story, but it didn’t materialize.

Perhaps prostitution is still so taboo that it repulses the female viewer, although Julia Roberts didn’t suffer much for Pretty Woman.  Go figure.

best-new-vampire-movies-tv-series-2013-2-byzantium

Saoirse Ronan, of Hannah fame, is the main character here, the daughter of 18th century prostitute Clara.  The two are very different from one another, with Eleanor (Ronan) raised in a religious orphanage away from her mother’s life for her first 16 years.

Now the female empowerment may have been undermined by the crucial role of a particular male character in the plot. I doubt that this was important to the film’s financial distress.  It doesn’t have grand special effect laden, over the top, computer generated nonsense for the trailer.  It doesn’t try to outdo Avatar with big “wow” visuals to draw in the largely numbed audience.  As a small production, with small people and small lives, it’s more of a specialty film, despite its Young-Adult style main storyline.  This combination of an oversaturated vampire market, a numb over-marketed public and a more realistic universe killed the film.  Perhaps the hard edged sexual tinge kept away the young audiences as well, as they would need to sneak in to even see it.

But the movie may be vindicated with rentals.  Who knows?

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