ELLE reviews Byzantium

Gemma Arterton and Saoirse Ronan star

Gemma Arterton is at the top of her game in Byzantium, a modern-day vampire thriller from acclaimed director Neil Jordan.

She’s also <on> the game – her roaming vamp character Clara turns tricks to support her daughter Eleanor (Saoirse Ronan).

Trouble brews when they settle in Hastings and Eleanor decides to tell her new boyfriend (Caleb Landry Jones) the truth about her 200-year past.

It’s a thoughtful British thriller blending action and fantasy with dark humour.


Saoirse is brilliant as sensible, sensitive Eleanor while Gemma is all abrupt practicality and brash sexuality – even in cheap sex-shop garb.

The backstory is a bit muddled but this is still a refreshingly female-focused fantasy combining gothic entertainment with a quasi-feminist message.

Think a cultish, grown-up where the real story isn’t about a boy and a girl – it’s about two strong women.

Byzantium is in cinemas Friday 31 May

<iframe width="360" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/_zu2cW7AhO8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

ELLE reviews Only God Forgives

Read Next: