Only Lovers Left Alive Reviews
Moody and atmospheric, Jim Jarmusch's vampire film is heavy on snob and light on plot. While I'm never one to complain about films that reward the audience for being smart and understanding obscure references, I also need more than abstruse literary allusions to keep me invested in the characters. Structured in four acts, the first two acts are about the two leads, and Jarmusch's vamps wonder if life is worth living and love is worth loving, eventually resolving these conflicts in under-toned affirmatives. Mia Wasikowska adds some life to the dour existence, but she is quickly exiled, and since this is the one part of the film where we had a real plot and conflict, the film limps into the final act.
Overall, Jarmusch's reliance on mood over story leaves the film flat.
You really get absorbed in their lifestyle. There's no violence at all in the film. Sure, there's blood and people die (off-screen), but the film is more about how the vampires feel about their lives. Adam and Eve frequently refer to humans as "zombies" because they perceive the race is entering into a phase where all inspiration or innovation is gone and human beings just exist for the sake of existing. This makes the two of them question whether they even want to stay alive for the next hundred to thousand years because what would there be to look forward to? This is a totally engrossing film that blends music, romance and drama to create a unique mythology in which vampires exist in a human world. It uses the art of film as a language to influence its audience to think.
And they're vampires.
Hiddleston and Swinton and Hurt are all good here, not simply answering the question of what does one do with unlimited quantities of time, but doing so with aplomb. Its a sweet romance of a film.
Good Film! This is a movie for film lovers and pop culture enthusiasts. It is a vampire film that takes advantage of its time span; cultural references dating back hundreds of years can be found at every corner. Only Lovers Left Alive does not focus on blood and gore, it is not a thriller nor a horror, it doesn't even truly focus on the world of vampires. Instead, Jarmusch studies the eternal, he explores the quiet, perhaps boring, every day life of a modern, intelligent and ancient being who has, quite literally, seen it all.
Adam ('Tom Hiddleston (I)'), an underground musician reunites with his lover for centuries (Tilda Swinton) after he becomes depressed and tired with the direction human society has taken. Their love is interrupted and tested by her wild and uncontrollable little sister (Mia Wasikowska).
It's surprising that Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton have not played vampires previously(To be fair, Swinton, Hiddleston & Hurt have all played immortals of one sort or another before), since they share a sort of timeless pale beauty that could thrive in any era. It's the sort of perfect casting that Jim Jarmusch could not screw up if he tried. The ironic thing is Jarmusch really isn't trying anything, as there is not that much of a story here and the glorious shots of nighttime crumbling Detroit looked like they could have been handled by the second unit. As such, the movie succeeds as much on its decadent atmosphere as anything else, with Jarmusch taking the angle of vampires being addicts, some of whom live in William Burroughs' old stomping grounds of Tangiers.
Note: This is not Tilda Swinton's first encounter with Christopher Marlowe, as she starred in an adaptation of his play "Edward II" in 1991.
The film has a narrative, but one that features little plot development or action, rather setting its sights on achieving a character study, and delivering on atmosphere. It succeeds on both accounts, focusing on the mundane aspects of vampire life, asking questions that are rarely posed in other genre pieces. We get a sense of their boredom, their peculiar observations on human society, and their uniquely evolved morality. This is achieved to near perfection due to a fantastic script, with strong dialogue, well developed characters, and a fantastic underlying sense of realism. The direction by Jim Jarmusch gives us a very methodical, slow burn sort of feel, but one that never wears out its welcome, enthralling the viewer at every turn.
And of course, the ultimate praise for Only Lovers Left Alive goes to Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton for brilliant performances. Both completely inhibit their characters, delivering portrayals that both capture our imagination, and frighten us with the way they organically control every scene.
Unique. Captivating. A Must Watch.
Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton, playing century-old lovers named Adam and Eve, embody the vampiric nature flawlessly, telling a tale of the secrecy and survival of the vampire race. Unlike other vampires, Adam and Eve refuse to feed off humans out of fear of drinking contaminated blood that has been affected by environmental decline, therefore retrieving only clean blood from local suppliers or blood banks.
Adam is a lonely, secluded vampire who was once a great influence on the music industry, though has since found solace in solidarity and collecting vintage guitars. He is soon reunited with Eve, his long-time lover, who brings life and joy back into his life as they explore the city and dance to old records.
Their brief moment of happiness and tranquility, however, is rudely interrupted by the arrival of Eve's younger sister, Ava, who leaves a trail of havoc and ruin in her wake, seemingly without regard for her consequences. The trio embodies an entirely different breed of vampirism than what we have become accustomed to in modern cinema, making Only Lovers Left Alive a pleasant change from the norm while never losing touch with its morbidity.