Extra Cinema: Byzantium (15)

Undated Film Still Handout from Byzantium. Pictured ((l-r): GEMMA ARTERTON as Clara Webb and SAOIRSE RONAN as Eleanor Webb. See PA Feature FILM Film Reviews. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Studio Canal. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature FILM Film Reviews.
Undated Film Still Handout from Byzantium. Pictured ((l-r): GEMMA ARTERTON as Clara Webb and SAOIRSE RONAN as Eleanor Webb. See PA Feature FILM Film Reviews. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Studio Canal. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature FILM Film Reviews.

Starring: Gemma Arterton, Saoirse Ronan. Director: Neil Jordan. Interview With The Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles paired Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt as fanged fiends whose fortunes entwined on the streets of New Orleans.

Almost 20 years later, director Neil Jordan plants a stake back in the genre with Byzantium, an intelligent thriller adapted by Moira Buffini from her stage play.

Single mother Clara Webb (Gemma Arterton) arrives in a rundown resort with daughter Eleanor (Saoirse Ronan).

In order to make ends meet, Clara sells her body to residents and holidaymakers.

Every now and then, she sinks her teeth into an punter and we discover, in flashback, that Clara is in fact a vampire who was abused in the 19th century by a libidinous captain (Jonny Lee Miller).

Eleanor is her equally bloodthirsty ward, who refuses to abide by the ancient code.

The vampires hit the jackpot when they meet a lonely misfit (Daniel Mays) who lives in the decrepit Byzantium guest house, which would make a perfect base for Clara’s illicit operations.

So as the older bloodsucker recruits girls from the streets, Eleanor catches the eye of a young waiter, Frank (Caleb Landry Jones), who is waging a long battle with leukaemia.

Byzantium is a slow burn, with occasional explosions of graphic violence.

T he fractured chronology hampers momentum but Jordan navigates a path between past and present.

Pace quickens in the blazing final act as fates collide on the coast and everything — except for two centuries of sin — is washed away.

Rating: 7/10