Thursday, July 18, 2013

This vampire movie vapid

Perhaps it’s my bias against horror films, considering them more schlock than scary. And vampire movies have made me laugh at the usually utterly amateurish nature of the portrayals of said creepy former humans. But come on, Neil Jordan. Are you serious? Jordan, Irish filmmaker extraordinaire – okay that’s what the artsy critics think – in Byzantium, at the Main Art, has come out with a piece of convoluted tripe, that doesn’t work on even a non-horror level, as in, say, interesting storyline. Interesting? This is an utter bore for almost its two ungodly hours’ (is that mixing metaphors?). The plot is about two women Eleanor (Saoirse Ronan) and Clara (Gemma Arterton) whom we soon discover are vampires over time – about 200 years’ worth. The women have unresolved conflicts, mainly related to their very historical pasts - as in the Napoleonic Wars. The movie switches back and forth between the present day – where the women are ensconced in a hotel gone to seed called the Byzantium – and the past, which happens to be in the same coastal town sans hotels, carnival rides, and motor cars. Clara sets the hotel up as a whorehouse and berates cerebral Eleanor, who has written about her travails, for not keeping up with the program. There are unresolved conflicts between these two as well, but since it’s critical to the plot I won’t give it away, if you deign to see it. But what’s the point, except, ha ha, for their pointed thumbnails, the better with which to stab their victims’ in the neck? I found the stories uninteresting. And couldn’t Jordan, supposedly the great insightful filmmaker, at least have used these characters as metaphors for something else: the oppression of women, women’s relationships with men? That might have made sense given the plotlines of romance and whoredom. But, nope. Just straight one dimensional stories. Some of the words I scribbled while watching: tedious, painful to watch, farcical. Like when the waterfalls on the rock island turn red with blood. Ayyyyyy! A little digital colourization there, Neil? And the clichéd fast car scene struggle at the end of the movie, which is laughable. The only thing half decent is the women’s acting, but that’s submerged in a cascade of, ah, bloody clichés, if you get my point.  Okay, enough.

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