Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)

Adam really is as moody as he looks here.

Adam really is as moody as he looks.

*

INTRODUCTION. Brilliant and beautiful British film magazine Little White Lies recently celebrated their 50th issue anniversary with a weekender of showings at the Institute of Contemporary Art Cinema, London. As a fan of the EIFF secret screening, the LWL equivalent was a no-brainer… and a good thing too! Only Lovers Left Alive is out in the UK in February 2014 (April, USA). This is my quick look at Jim Jarmusch’s latest production.

CHARACTERS. Here is a film whose focus depends heavily on its characters, which makes it entirely appropriate for Swinton and Hiddleston to be cast as the amorous vampire couple whose peculiar relationship has spanned centuries across continents. I must admit that they surprised me. Eve is an indolent yet unerringly genial personality, portrayed in vivid contrast to Adam: grumpy, moody Adam. It’s easy enough to warm to them as being mundanely human, and yet very much removed from us by centuries of interactions or in-jokes. Curious feeling really; glimpsing into a secret society that isn’t so glamorous as imagined but something else altogether. Something better, even.

STORY. Let me tell you what I expected; I expected a sprawling, sensually-charged romance between two unimaginably ancient lovers. What I got was a mellow, dark comedy that spun about in beautiful and languid personality arcs. This made me extremely glad. The plot itself revolves around what I like to think is Adam’s idea of a mid-life crisis. It isn’t a tightly wound story of clearcut beginnings or climaxes, although with such magnetic temperaments onscreen you would find it difficult to look away once it gets going. Only Lovers Left Alive is peppered with powerful, listless rock music (electric guitar, yo) and enough witty literary/historical references to cause an Oxbridge scholar to wax lyrical. What makes these bearable to the average viewer is that the film doesn’t take itself too seriously.

CONCLUSION. Anyone anticipating it will certainly want to see Only Lovers Left Alive. Or you may simply want to give this a shot to witness a (desperately needed) double reappropriation of the vampire myth.

N

CHARACTERS: 10/10
STORY: 6.5/10
REWATCH FACTOR: 7/10
OVERALL: 8.5/10
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