Neil Jordan’s newest offering is a blood-soaked, barmy tour de force, anchored firmly by its two leads, Gemma Arterton and Saoirse Ronan. There are definite strains of Jordan’s previous foray into the genre present here, but where Interview with A Vampire was all about male power play, Byzantium is concerned with the struggle of women in a world where men will constantly seek to drag them down. Beautifully filmed, and bolstered by its generally strong cast and a couple of suitably flamboyant touches, Byzantium is – despite belonging to a seriously over saturated genre – a vampire film that you can actually sink your teeth into.
An eclectic amalgam of Cold War thriller, girl’s-own coming-of-age yarn and superhero origin story, Hanna could have easily wound up resembling a cinematic patchwork of half-baked genre constituents. It’s a great relief, then, that Hanna is much more than the sum of its (many) parts.
The British talent for satire is brilliantly displayed in In the Loop. This film spin-off from the BBC series The Thick of It chronicles the life and times of several US and UK government figureheads in the days before the invasion of Iraq. The cracking script and brilliant cast keep the laughs coming hard and fast, while director Armando Iannucci’s hand-held camera techniques create an almost uncomfortably close-to-the-bone sense of realism. If you missed this film at the cinema, it’s well worth grabbing on DVD for the best laughs you’ve had in ages and one-liners you’ll be repeating for weeks.