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Worth watching for Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton's performances alone, Only Lovers Left Alive finds writer-director Jim Jarmusch adding a typically offbeat entry to the vampire genre.
All Critics (188)
| Top Critics (46)
| Fresh (159)
| Rotten (29)
| DVD (2)
Even vampires get the blues.
This is a film that finds horror not in the extreme, but in the mundane. That alone makes it a worthwhile entry in a genre that it both inhabits and rises above.
Somehow it's all very entertaining and weird and fitting, with Detroit looking like a place any vampire would be happy to be.
You don't so much watch this movie as slink into it, joining an unlikely pair of lovers and enjoying their slouchy elegance.
"Only Lovers Left Alive" breathes new and intriguing life into the vampire genre.
Only Lovers is so fluidly edited and thinly plotted that it feels almost off-hand; yet, it's also made with great care, beautifully lit and set-designed to an eyelash.
Some will want the film to escalate in a way that it is never really likely to; instead it should just be enjoyed as a ride through the ghostly Detroit where one can luxuriate in the moody, chic milieu, not to mention the soundtrack.
Jarmusch is a man who knows how to set a scene, and he does it well.
There are horror elements in Only Lovers Left Alive, but mostly it's there so that we can enjoy seeing Swinton and Hiddleston et al in top form.
[Only Lovers Left Alive] provid[es] us with considered ruminations on time, comfort in connecting, and the progress of humanity in art and science.
Jarmusch has forgotten the key rule: just because you've made a vampire movie doesn't mean you have to make a film free of heart.
If Jarmush's atmospheric, blood-and-bohemians style is your thing, you might not want to leave.
What would vampires live like today? We already got an answer to that in the hilariously funny "What we do in the shadows" but Jim Jarmush has his own. They stick to the rules and stay undetected, not killing people. They've been the muses behind scientists and artists for centuries but grow weary of humans. Hiddleston is a surprisingly grumpy vampire, not giving us his trademark grin. His hipster snob is pretty amusing, just like Swinton's hippie.There are genuinely funny, albeit subtle, moments. But the film's pace is really slow and the plot remains somewhat episodic. That's still rather entertaining but could have used a bit more of a, well, bite.
Jarmusch knows quite well the kind of engrossing atmosphere that he wants to invoke with this story of old-fashioned, cultivated vampires who feel deeply disappointed in people's disdain for Science and Art and are doomed to succumb in the mediocrity that dominates the world.
As an art film, "Only Lovers Left Alive" is beautiful, stylish and meditative. As a vampire flick, it's boring, aimless and anemic. Whether you like the movie or not will depend heavily on what you're looking for.
Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston's alabaster pale, rocker cool, ritualistically tender vampire love spans eras, and while this film is a bit of a narrative hot mess, Jim Jarmusch's languid pacing and attention to detail (the books, the instruments, those omnipresent sunglasses) create a wry and intellectual atmosphere that is absent in most vampire flicks...well, most "flicks" in general. The Marlowe having written Shakespeare's work gag is rather trite, and the most action and conflict-filled part of the movie comes too late and ends too early with the arrival and departure of Ava - the bratty, simpering baby vampire - played by a hilariously vexing Mia Wasikowska. She's so cute that you just want to stab her in the face.
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