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Byzantium [Blu-ray]

196 customer reviews

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(Oct 29, 2013)
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Editorial Reviews

A run-down coastal resort becomes the epicenter of unimaginable evil when two mysterious women suddenly appear there seeking refuge. Alluring Clara (Gemma Arterton, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters) and schoolgirl Eleanor (Saoirse Ronan, Hanna) meet local loner Noel (Daniel Mays, Atonement) and take up residence in his deserted guesthouse, Byzantium. Before long Eleanor befriends another local, Frank (Caleb Landry Jones, Antiviral) and reveals to him the lethal secret the two women share: they were born 200 years ago and survive on human blood. As knowledge of their secret spreads, their shared past threatens to catch up to them with deadly consequences. A uniquely fresh take on the vampire myth, Neil Jordan s (The Brave One) BYZANTIUM is a stylish and affecting look at the loneliness and isolation that come with the price of immortality.

Product Details

  • Actors: Gemma Arterton, Saoirse Ronan, Sam Riley, Jonny Lee Miller, Daniel Mays
  • Directors: Neil Jordan
  • Writers: Moira Buffini
  • Producers: William D. Johnson, Sam Englebardt, Stephen Woolley, Alan Moloney, Elizabeth Karlsen
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: MPI HOME VIDEO
  • DVD Release Date: October 29, 2013
  • Run Time: 118 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (196 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00DPUB59W
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,120 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

91 of 97 people found the following review helpful By N. Fares on July 9, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
In a time of many various forms of what it is to be vampire, like in 'True Blood', 'Twilight' movies, and 'Vampire Diaries'. Byzantium is a refreshing take on vampirism. Like the movie 'Underworld: Awaking' we have a mother/daughter team that is trying find their own identity in the world. However, in Byzantium, we get the real deal. What we find is a movie that is portraying a real life relationship between mother and daughter who are fighting to stay alive. To the detriment of an all male vampire league. The strength of the movie comes from the acting abilities of Gemma Arterton and Saoirse Ronan, as the mother and daughter lead. In the world of the 19th century and in present time they both have to deal with a male dominated world. But in the end they find their own strength as women. Showing that women are just as powerful as men, intellectually speaking. However, the ending shows that there is the potential for a sequel. Like Christopher Nolan, if there is a sequel, I hope it builds on the first film.
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47 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Nyasha on September 13, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant Video
Finally, a vampire story that explores the paralyzing loneliness that must come with immortality. Something sorely overlooked in the slew of human-vamp love stories flooding the media these days. Great to see themes untouched since the likes of Bram Stoker and Anne Rice, and at the center of it all two strong, determined female leads. The film also boasts impressive, yet never heavy-handed CG. Very satisfying indeed.
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44 of 48 people found the following review helpful By RMurray847 VINE VOICE on July 31, 2013
Format: Blu-ray
The concept behind Neil Jordan's film BYZANTIUM is compelling: A mother/daughter vampire story. The grabs the attention right away. Jordan as director makes in more interesting, and an eclectic cast that includes the rising Gemma Arterton, the unusual Caleb Landry Jones and the excellent Saoirse Ronan makes it a must-see.

BYZANTIUM is moody, atmospheric, often bloody, sometimes funny and always interesting horror tale. It is not a SCARY movie...nor is it trying to be. Vampires don't really scare anymore...but Jordan proves that they can be interesting subjects for story-telling. BYZANTIUM is also often very slow moving and isn't quite as gripping as it thinks it is. I enjoyed the movie, I guess...but in many ways I APPRECIATED it more than I loved it.

I don't really want to give away too much of the plot, because much of the film is really the slow telling of the backstory of these two vampires. The film is set in modern times and shows how these two make their ways in the world. (These vampires can go out during the day, by the way.) They could probably settle into a "normal" life of sorts (except for the need to feed on blood and the lack of aging!), but they are being chases by a group determined to kill them. Again, I won't say more, because finding out the history of these two and their relationship to the group attempting to root them out is the fun of the film.

Arterton spent her last few years of "real" life as a prostitute, and even centuries later, she is a vampire who makes a living in the sex trade. Ronan was her daughter, abandoned to a convent as a baby and raised by nuns, and carries with her an intense guilt for what she is and a burning need to tell her story.
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Format: DVD
Vampires occupy a unique place in our cultural history. Trapped between life and death, they’re often portrayed as the classical romantic character in spite of the fact that they must prey on the living – on consuming human blood – in order to survive. When they love, they love eternally, but circumstances often require them to keep from ‘blessing’ their soulmates with the gift of eternal life (or whatever comes close). Because they’re still so very close to regular folks, they’re often given stories to explore the tragedy of their existence; audiences end up caring for them more often than they fear them, and the fictional yet mortal counterparts they come in contact with often envy them as much as they try to resist their charms.

Simply put, they’re two sides of the human coin, and rarely does a vampire story convey the joy and the pathos of being one as does BYZANTIUM, the new thriller from director Neil Jordan.

(NOTE: The following review will contain minor spoilers necessary solely for the discussion of plot and characters. If you’re the kind of reader who prefers a review entirely spoiler-free, then I’d encourage you to skip down to the last three paragraphs for my final assessment. If, however, you’re accepting of a few modest hints at ‘things to come,’ then read on …)

The young Eleanor Webb (played by the increasingly bankable Saoirse Ronan) continues writing her life story in a paper manuscript; and then she throws them away. The reality she lives is one she cannot truly speak about: she’s a vampire, trapped in her teenage body, sharing an existence from one hidden corner to the next with her sensuously depraved mother Clara (Gemma Arterton has never been lovelier!).
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Canteengirl on August 26, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant Video Verified Purchase
Overall, this is an excellent movie and well worth the time and money to watch. In a time of too many vampire movies, in particular Twilight, this was an interesting and unique story. And it really moved away from the dangerous male vampire seducing an innocent girl. There are 2 strong female lead characters. It is very well acted, and I think it moves at a good pace revealing story as it goes. I think at times it might appear slow, because it is building anticipation in the audience for resolution. There is depth to the characters and realistic and interesting interaction/relationships. There aren't clear divisions between good and evil. Characters all fall somewhere in the gray area on the continuum, which really reflects the reality of the human or superhuman condition.
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