Saturday, 3 August 2013

Byzantium ... An almost good movie

There was so much I liked about this film and am glad Neil Jordan is back in his element - particularly in the way he portrays places as characters in his narrative ... The scenery, photography, casting, acting, costumes, music, all that was top notch. The script, on the other hand, could have been a lot better. I think. In fact for most of the time I felt like ideas came to forks and instead of choosing the right course, they chose the opposite.
    Also, I had a problem with Gemma Arterton as Clara. If you are going to portray a worn out whore with consumption, stretched thin over centuries, timelessly beautiful but spent, I would probably bet on the likes of Carrie Ann Moss or Rebecca Hall, even. The fleshy, ridiculously energetic and absurdly beautiful Arterton just seemed kind of .. Always just one step away from being the queen of Canada or something.
     But anyways. The things that I would have done so differently.
     First of all, I wouldn't show any of the killing. Any. I wouldn't even show any of the blood. I would just leave those scenes three fourths in and let the viewer linger in the uncomfortable feeling that the pretty little girl didn't just kindly socialise with all those old people, but did in fact, you know, eat them. And the pimb killed on the beach - they could leave it as a scene, mistaken for passionate sex. You'd realise eventually, by the lack of him, what truly transpired.
      Second of all, that Brotherhood, what the fuck was that. I don't even care what those were supposed to be. They were stupid. They only accepted posh dudes and that sicko captain was an eligible candidate? The syphilitic child rapist body looter? That's okay, but women they had a problem with? I would cut all of those just out. I would just leave them as an ominous force. Maybe even at the end. The girl would just see two ugly old dudes try to kill her mum. There wouldn't be lame dialogue all over it and graphic close-ups. Even the scene with the social worker - I would have preferred her to start suspecting something is terribly wrong and just flee and then be killed or not even that. Just flee the car, perplexed at the creeping feeling crawling up her spine. At least then their theory of weakness of women would have been reasonable.
       The dialogue. Eh. Okay. For all their ethereal beauty and lost-ness, they COULD talk a little better. Like the handwriting and the Beethoven... I would enjoy a silver-tongued hooker. You don't get many of those these days.
        I did wish they would come full circle with the hotel - that Clara would eventually remember this was the whorehouse she grew old in. Because I love what they've done with the school.
       The scene at Frank's birthday - when he tells Ella she can kill him right there... Really? For his pregnant mother to find him butchered? That made sense, yeah. 

The one thing I liked above all else, though, was the make up on Saoirse Roman's face. When she is talking to the first old guy she eats, she is soooooo surreal, so pale and un-alive and like a statue of salt. but after she eats him, even though she doesn't like it, she is suddenly a lot more colourful. It's the most subtle change you'll see. But it's as tragic as it is perfection.