Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 22
  2. Negative: 1 out of 22
  1. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Jun 27, 2013
    Again and again, as the story shifts between women, times and moods, Mr. Jordan adds a punctuating flourish...that exquisitely illustrates the once-upon-a-time mood.
  2. 90
    The movie is gorgeous, mesmerizing, poetic; the lyricism actually heightened by harsh jets of gore.
  3. Reviewed by: Bruce Ingram
    Jun 27, 2013
    It takes a while, but the old-fashioned pleasure of watching a well-told story unfold eventually becomes the chief satisfaction in Byzantium, though there are other things to enjoy as well.
  4. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Jun 25, 2013
    Byzantium isn't Jordan's first movie about bloodsuckers—that would be 1994's Interview with the Vampire—but it's the right vampire movie for today, poetic and elegant in an artfully tattered way.
  5. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Jun 25, 2013
    Jordan’s poetic sensibilities more than make up for any flaws. His uncanny aptitude for conjuring up resonantly metaphorical images — from a pointed fingernail pushing toward a vein to a waterfall turning into a literal river of blood — proves there’s plenty of life left in this undead genre.
  6. Reviewed by: Kim Newman
    May 12, 2013
    A mixture of tough and wistful and reflective and brutal, this is the ideal vampire movie for Twi-hards who’ve had their hearts broken for the first time and want to move on to a less cosy vision of eternal romance with a side order of addiction.
  7. Reviewed by: Tirdad Derakhshani
    Jun 27, 2013
    While it flirts with the ridiculous, the film manages to maintain a certain gravitas as its many stories unfold.
  8. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    Jun 25, 2013
    It’s not perfect, but when it works, Byzantium towers above all of the romantic vampire slobber we’ve been getting lately. I fear that Dracula is watching from some moldy crypt somewhere, nodding approval.
  9. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    May 12, 2013
    By the standards of Jordan's earlier films, "Byzantium" is unquestionably a minor achievement, but its technical specs help flesh out a thick environment that elevates the proceedings to a lyrical plane.
  10. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Jul 4, 2013
    Jordan’s tone is consistently drab and morose, which is fitting enough, but the story drags a bit, bouncing back and forth in time in a manner that is sometimes useful, sometimes not. Overall, though, it’s an intriguing addition to the genre.
  11. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Jun 27, 2013
    Byzantium's appeal is not so much its bite, which could use some refining, but the emotional journey its undead take. In Jordan's hands, the vampires are so very human.
  12. Reviewed by: A.A. Dowd
    Jun 26, 2013
    With her piercing baby blues that never seem to settle on a subject, even when she’s locked in conversation with it, Ronan seems just… off enough to play a vampiric vixen.
  13. Reviewed by: Michael O'Sullivan
    Jul 11, 2013
    The joke seems to be that in 2013, it’s hard to teach an old bloodsucker new tricks. Still, Byzantium has a few moves that might surprise you. They have nothing to do with blood, but everything to do with the heart.
  14. 63
    There’s not much new here, but at least Byzantium has well-acted, compelling characters telling its time-worn tale with style. That’s the best we can hope for, these days, from this genre that will not die.
  15. Reviewed by: Ed Gonzalez
    May 28, 2013
    Forlorn depictions of love and death may dignify Neil Jordan's film, but narrative withholding ultimately drives a stake into its unmistakable heart.
  16. Reviewed by: Sarah Nicole Prickett
    May 12, 2013
    Female-forward and class-conscious, allegorical and adventurous, Byzantium is almost the anti-Batman.
  17. Reviewed by: Ian Buckwalter
    Jun 27, 2013
    Neil Jordan seems well aware that audiences may be feeling deep fatigue about vampires. So with his latest, the director of Interview With the Vampire makes a vampire film that seeks to reinvent the species, while harking back to a more classical — read: less sparkly — take on the genre.
  18. Reviewed by: Neil Smith
    May 12, 2013
    Jordan’s apparent resolve to make an anti-Twilight unfortunately results in a movie that, if not for a fistful of moments of shock, style and excess, would be as drained of colour and tension as Ronan’s victims are of hemoglobin.
  19. Reviewed by: Jordan Hoffman
    Mar 12, 2013
    It isn’t just the bright colors and the costumes but every visual aspect of Byzantium that sings. Neil Jordan knows where to put the camera. It’s just a shame he wasn’t able to inject a little life inside that frame.
  20. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Jun 26, 2013
    The best thing in the movie is Arterton's sultry, claw-baring turn, but mostly it's a rudderless riff on "Let the Right One In."
  21. Reviewed by: Kevin Jagernauth
    May 12, 2013
    Though given two committed turns by a tremendously sexy and vicious Arterton and a solid-as-always Ronan, Byzantium often feels as gray and lifeless as the corpses in the film.
  22. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Jun 28, 2013
    Neil Jordan’s Byzantium dares to rework “Twilight” with twice the teen moping and Robert Pattinson replaced by a guy with the sexual magnetism of a sickly Ron Weasley.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 46 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 6
  2. Negative: 0 out of 6
  1. Aug 15, 2013
    This movie had a feeling of specialty, it had a whole new world of vampires and their living. Saoirse Ronan is electric.

    Beautifully told,
    the story of Clara and Eleanor's past unfolds on the background of developing young love. Full Review »
  2. Jul 16, 2013
    A vampire mother and daughter escape to a seaside village, where they struggle to continue their anonymous existence. While mom (Gemma Atherton) establishes a brothel to make money, the daughter (Saoirse Ronan) expresses her desire to tell the truth with lots of flashbacks into their "making." This is not an effects-laden horror flic. They don't have any superhuman powers or even fangs. It's a somber drama that takes it's time, but in the hands of director Neil Jordan (The Borgias,The Crying Game, Interview with the Vampire) it develops into a compelling climax. Full Review »
  3. Feb 15, 2014
    Very good vampire movie. Something I feel isn't said very often anymore. I thought it was very interesting and well done. The acting is good and the story is interesting. I'm really not sure why it took so long for me to hear about because I think it's very good and deserves some attention. Also Gemma Arterton is not hard to watch either. Full Review »