I had high expectations because of the cast and the director Neil Jordan. The movie maker had been one of the godfathers of the "New British Cinema" from the 80s with fascinating films like "The Company of Wolves", "Mona Lisa" and "The Crying Game" and he delivered later the baroque and highly enjoyable "Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles".
But it seems Jordan lost his talent. He and his script writer Moira Buffini delivered a half-cocked plot. It looks like that both were unsure what kind of movie they wanted to make. Adding insult to injury: The director didn´t have any proper use for his formidable cast. Awesome Saoirse Ronan, a rising star in Hollywood´s canopy, wandered aimlessly through a wreck of a plot. Gemma Arterton, who I much enjoyed in "Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters" as a super-cool actress, was equally wasted on the ill-crafted film. The same is true of British actor Jonny Lee Miller, who now can been seen as Sherlock Holmes in the U.S. series "Elementary".
The genre has a lot of pearls (recently "Kiss of the Damned" driveby) but "Byzantium" is not one of them.