Neil Jordan, director of Interview with a Vampire, returns to his supernatural roots with the newly-released Byzantium, which stars Gemma Arterton and Saiorse Ronan as a mother and daughter vampire duo who are trying to endure the existential anguish of their situation while simultaneously running from the dangers of their past. Byzantium is both a drama and  a romance, though the  romance is subdued and not the focal point of the narrative.

The film has a slow start. The first act is devoid of exposition and world building,  introducing the characters before the world is explained. The world-building expands as the narrative unravels during the second and third acts. The film uses the tropes of vampire films and doesn’t explore anything new; however, the story and journey of the two main characters is compelling enough for the audience to care about Byzantium regardless.

Byzantium will inevitably be compared to Twilight, as both films feature vampires and teen romance. However, the similarities end there.  Byzantium actively tries to stamp the tween aspect out of pop culture vampires. This is a film that is supported by a strong narrative and good performances by great actors across the board. Jonny Lee Miller is particularly enjoyable to watch as the villainous Ruthven. Overall, Byzantium is a well-made drama/romance  with solid performances, compelling writing and narrative, and good cinematography.