A vampire film I’ve wanted to see for a very long time is Byzantium, and a few days ago I finally watched it. Neil Jordan earned his fangs directing Interview with the Vampire back in the 1990s, but as much as I loved that film, I think I might love his second journey with vampires even more.
One of the reasons I loved this film (and believe me when I say there are a lot of reasons why I do), Saoirse Ronan’s performance as the vampire Eleanor ranks among the top. Eleanor reminds me of Louis from Interview, but where as Brad Pitt’s Louis shoves his brooding motivations in the viewers faces, Ronan’s Eleanor delivers a more subtle performance. My favorite moments with Eleanor come when she lets the audience see her age. When she stops playing the teenager that her vampire existence demands, her glare chills you and makes you realize not only just how old she is but that she is every inch a killer.
The film was written by Moira Buffini. Perhaps the highest praise I can give her is that she’s delivered a story about vampires that takes away their fangs but still makes them as deadly and vicious as ever while pouring out their hearts. My favorite change she made to the vampire myth was how the “bite marks” to the neck that vampires are known for is explained. If you’ve got Netflix, you can find it on there now (that’s how I got to watch it this week), and you should.