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Byzantium [Blu-ray] [Import]

3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Your Neck Never Look So Pretty.. Dec 31 2013
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
"This Movie to me, "Byzantium"is the Best vampire movie that I've seen in a long time, not since Let the Right one in,
[Both version] American and the Swedish, that a movie could give you more interaction with the Human element
living or dead, the story is about two sister, one who's trying to find her identity the other who's very carefree,
and wreaking havoc across the English countryside with deadly consequences, to the perpetrator and the foe,
and the men who's trying to kill them, because of the male dominance within the clan,
Clara [Gemma Arterton] and Eleanor [Saoirse Ronan] was very outstanding in the movie, what I like about
the movie, it's not high on special effects like Underworld, like jumping off of a tall building and landing on your feet,
it just stick to the facts of being real to us, that we know about, Vampires always bite you on the neck or stick a fingernail
into you to get their blood, I think everybody who loves Vampire movies will love this,
and another thing I love about the movie, it's not trying to scare the crap out of you at all, plus they walk day and night..
5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio.
Widescreen 2.35:1
Runtime 118 minutes.
Your Neck Never Look So Pretty..
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5.0 out of 5 stars Byzantium Blu Ray Feb. 9 2014
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
This item arrived so quickly I barely had time to blink. I can't imagine what it will be like when the drones come. I haven't watched the film yet, and bought it purely based on the fact that it has Gemma Arterton in it...if she is in the film, said film will soon become a part of my home video library.
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3.0 out of 5 stars meh Jan. 5 2014
By Corpse
I didn't hate this movie but it wasn't really that great in my opinion. The characters are all interesting as well are the relationships between them but nothing really involving ever happens. The story never goes over the top and there is no real reason for me to recommend this or ever watch it again. its just meh.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars DVD defectives Feb. 8 2014
By Pierre
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Twice this DVD was sent/purchased and found to be defective. It looks possibly to be from bad manufacturing or a cheap medium.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  123 reviews
60 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazingly Well Acted July 9 2013
By N. Fares - Published on Amazon.com
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.
32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A dash of realism Sept. 13 2013
By Nyasha - Published on Amazon.com
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.
28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An original, well-plotted and well-acted vampire movie! July 31 2013
By RMurray847 - Published on Amazon.com
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. Normally, she writes her story down on paper as a cathartic device, and then destroys her writing...only to begin again. Vampire OCD. But when she meets the brooding but interesting Landry Jones and the two begin a tentative romance...will she be able to stop herself from sharing her story?

Eventually, of course, events from both the past and the present must collide climactically...and I found the resolution of the story to be quite satisfying. While this film never quite got my blood pumping (I'd say Jordan is at his weakest as a director of action scenes)...I did find myself quite invested in the Ronan/Landry Jones relationship. And I loved much of the tone of the film...it feels old-fashioned in so many ways, and tells a touching backstory. This movie is an intelligent vampire film. Yes, there are still moments of silliness or times when credulity is strained...but it's well plotted and well acted.

It's leisurely pace DOES keep it from being a visceral experience, as I said. You care about the characters and you have an interest in the story and its outcome. But I wanted to be swept away just a bit more. Thus, I can only give this 4 stars out of 5. But I believe it's well-worth seeing...particularly after the TWILIGHT movies and the speedy decent into camp that TRUE BLOOD has become made vampires either laughable or boring. BYZANTIUM shows there's still plenty to explore in the dark realm of vampires.
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and Unique Aug. 26 2013
By Canteengirl - Published on Amazon.com
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.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Unique and Happy Twist on 'Romeo & Juliet' ... With Plenty of Bloodletting In Between Oct. 29 2013
By Edward Lee - Published on Amazon.com
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!). However, the weight of these past two hundred years has begun to take its toll on Eleanor, and she chooses – against her mother’s wishes – to share her secret with Frank (Caleb Landry Jones), a Leukemia-stricken teen smitten with her young feminine wiles. Will the consequences prove too grave for mother and daughter?

BYZANTIUM is a consistently delight from start to finish, but it’s certainly not your average run-of-the-mill vampire story. Granted, it has teenagers and romance – even welcome hints of undying love – but it’s a far cry from the tweeny TWILIGHT flicks that have filled the multiplexes over the past few years. This is an adult tale exploring the weight of adult consequences … even when that adult happens to be a sixteen-year-old woman experiencing her two hundredth year on Earth.

Part of what elevates BYZANTIUM toward such heights is masterful script adaptation by Moira Buffini (based on her play, “A Vampire Story”). This is a world she’s gone to great lengths to create, giving this particular breed of vampire its own unique origins story (rest assured, it probably won’t be what you’re expecting) as well as a mysterious organization referred to as ‘The Brotherhood’ that works in secrecy in order to keep it all hush-hush. Buffini has crafted two believable female characters – a rarity in today’s films – in the mother/daughter team who are tied together as much by their curse as they are the secrets they keep. Arterton vacillates nicely between keeping her daughter under her control while doing all that she can (including selling herself to men seeking sexual gratification) to provide for her; by contrast, Ronan retreats into the darkness, choosing to spend much of her time alone, exploring her fears, thoughts, dreams, and wishes despite always pining for more.

What veteran director Neil Jordan does is serve up a completely fresh perspective on vampire lore. He does so having previous directed INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE, which also had a terrific method of examining these bloodsuckers against the backdrop of personal history. No doubt that’s what drew him to BYZANTIUM, I suspect, but the film never feels like its treading on familiar ground. Rather, there’s a freshness here, much of that due to the fact that these vampires are shackled with a human vulnerability – they actually ‘care’ for one another, and, thus, the tension surrounding their possible monstrous behavior feels only part horror mixed with one part salvation.

Deftly photographed and leisurely told, BYZANTIUM will not be for everyone. However, for those who succumb to its inevitable bit, this is definitely a tale worth telling.

BYZANTIUM (2012) is produced by Demarest Films, Lipsync Productions, Number 9 Films, Parallel Film Productions, WestEnd Films, and IFC Films. DVD distribution is being handled through MPI Media Group. As for the technical specifications, clearly no expense was spared in bringing this moody and atmospheric thriller to life. For those interested in special features, there are a wealth of interviews, focusing on the actors as well as the behind-the-scenes talent that were necessary to serve up this wicked and occasionally bloody story.

HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION POSSIBLE. BYZANTIUM is the rarest of horror dramas: it’s a subtle concoction that brews slowly, methodically, weaving its tapestry from the fabric of time. The performances are terrific – Arterton and Ronan continue to deliver on the early promises of their respective careers, and director Jordan works wonders from scenes other leaders would pass over cursorily.

In the interests of fairness, I’m pleased to disclose that the fine folks at MPI Media Group provided me with a DVD copy of BYZANTIUM by request for the expressed purposes of completing this review.
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