Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Only Lovers Left Alive: Movie Review

Only Lovers Left Alive: Movie Review

Cast: Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska
Director: Jim Jarmusch

Jim Jarmusch's latest, Only Lovers Left Alive, finally arrives in the cinema after its premiere as the closing film of last year's International Film Festival.

It's the (slight) story of vampire lovers Adam (Tom Hiddleston channeling lounge lizard and Iggy) and Eve (a more animated Tilda Swinton than I've seen in years).

The duo have been together for years and have seen it all - but are currently living apart. She in Tangier, he in Detroit. He's become a recluse within the walls of his mansion, bitter at how the "zombies" have taken over the world, playing music and having Anton Yelchin's Ian running errands for him - including sourcing old guitars from rock history.

She, on the other hand, also leads the solitary life, getting blood from Christopher Marlowe (a wizened John Hurt). When she calls Adam one day, she decides to head to Detroit to be with him, amid concerns over his mental health.

Adam's elated to see her but things take a turn for the chaotic when Eve's sister Ava, a wild child (Mia Wasikowska) shows up and throws everything into turmoil.

Only Lovers Left Alive is an impeccably cool piece of cinema, with a playful tone at its heart.

Admittedly nothing really substantial happens within this tome as it unspools; deadpan comments over knowing and influencing famous people are made by the duo and that's about as exciting as it ever gets.

But it's just Jarmusch being a bit playful throughout - he evocatively manages to conjure up the worlds they live in; Hiddleston's Adam, surrounded by wires and useless technology, lives in a world of clutter. His only interactions are with Anton Yelchin's hanger-on Ian andJeffrey Wright's doctorfrom whom he sources blood.

There's dry humour aplenty in the piece as well - from visual gags such as Hiddleston's dressed up doctor wearing shades in a hospital and causing his supplier to jump to verbal jousting and acidly goofy one-liners which come out of nowhere, (the doctors in the blood bank are Dr Faust, Dr Calgari and Dr Watson) the screenplay carefully mixes cool with audience pleasing moments.

Visually impressive, moodily sombre in tone in places yet deliciously deadpan in others and with little going on outside of the atmospherics, you could be forgiven for not diving into Jarmusch's take on the vampire world in Only Lovers Left Alive..

However, it's due to the leads that it largely succeeds: Hiddleston's introspective and almost suicidal Adam, with half of his face covered with lank dark black hair and Swinton's animated, platinum blond locked Eve are eminently watchable thanks to some real onscreen chemistry. Which is just as well, because occasionally the film meanders and appears to have no overall plot or point.

All in all, Only Lovers Left Alive is a mischievous yet laid back movie, a vampire film with a more satirical than scary bite.


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