Welcome to the latest edition of 24 Frames. Sahara Shrestha and Andrew Jamieson will be guiding you through the exciting, confusing and often brilliant world of 'film'. Expect news, trailers and plenty of opinion.

The latest edition is brought to you by Andrew Jamieson, who can be found on twitter over at @theghostwriterc.



The 'Byzantium' Edition

Earlier this year I went to the cinema as I normally do, and as I rushed from the auditorium sadly I had left my jacket behind. I went back to find it after the movie had finished and luckily two friendly teenage girls handed it back to me. I thanked them both and since we had all just sat through the same movie I thought to myself 'thank heavens you two have just seen a great vampire story, after the malaise of Twilight' (not in a sexist/condescending way - that's the main demographic of the franchise!) - it was one of those beautiful moments that only take place in a cinema of any kind.

The movie we had just seen was Neil Jordan's Byzantium (2013) which is released on DVD and Blu Ray this week in the UK. The movie marks a return to the vampire genre from the director after he made the Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt helmed Interview with the Vampire (1994). While that movie was extremely successful and featured a marvellous performance from Tom Cruise, I thought that it had particular problems tonally, and lacked any emotional impact. If you're going to use the cinematic archetype of a vampire story, it should always transcend that archetype and use the trope as a device to tell a very human story. This is what Tomas Alfredson did with Let the Right One In (2008) in which the archetype is used to tell a tale about friendship and the angst of youth.

Byzantium features two female vampires: Clara and Eleanour Webb. Gemma Arterton brings moral complexity and volcanic sexuality to her role, while Saoirse Ronan illustrates the sombre melancholy of her character. Both actresses are wonderful in this movie and it is to the screenwriter's credit that we are only fully aware of their emotional motivations at the conclusion of the picture.

  • Gemma Arterton as Clara in Byzantium

What the movie primarily offers is a stunningly reflective piece on the passage of time and how subjective history affects the future of the individual. Time itself is a key factor of the narrative and the emotional arc of the characters. I also loved the fact that the movie handles subtle themes regarding feminism and patriarchy without ever labouring this subtext onto the characters whose motivations are varied and complex until the final frame of Moira Buffini's script (the movie is based on her play 'A Vampire Story').

The score is wonderful, with Beethoven's Sonata number 3 providing the backdrop for a wonderful soundtrack from Javier Navarrete, while Etta James's 'Don't Cry Baby' is used to marvellous effect here too. The cinematography is stunning and the setting of an unnamed British seaside town is referential to Bram Stoker as he was fascinated by Whitby prior to conceiving his original novel.

Director of photography Sean Bobbit gives the film a wonderful palette and to me he has distinguished himself alongside Roger Deakins and Wally Pfister with his work in The Place Beyond The Pines (2013) and Shame (2011). The film is bookended by two visceral action scenes and the supporting cast is superb. The movie has some minor flaws but this is the best picture I have seen this year and one of the best I have ever seen.

Byzantium is released on 23rd September 2013 in the UK on Blu Ray and DVD. Special features include cast and crew interviews and the trailer for the movie.

See Also: Head Here To Read The Previous Edition Of 24 Frames