only lovers left alive

Only Lovers Left Alive is not your average vampire love story.  Jim Jarmusch delivers a romantic meditation on the tragic state of modernity, oozing with rock and roll style. With a killer cast, a haunting soundtrack, and a playful sense of humor, the only thing that made this not a favorite for me was the fact that it isn’t very plot-driven. However, it is undeniably and unequivocally cool.

The Players:

  • Director: Jim Jarmusch
  • Screenwriter: Jim Jarmusch
  • Cinematographer: Yorick Le Saux
  • Composer: Jozef Van Wissem
  • Production Designer: Marco Bittner Rosser
  • Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Tilda Swinton, Mia Wasikowska, John Hurt, Anton Yelchin, Jeffrey Wright

Synopsis:

Two immortal lovers reunite in a desolate neighborhood in Detroit. Adam (Tom Hiddleston) and Eve (Tilda Swinton) have been in love for centuries, but Adam is finding it increasingly difficult to find joy in the world. Together, they face an uncertain future when Eve’s impetuous sister (Mia Wasikowska) comes to town and jeopardizes their way of life.

The Good:

  • Tilda Swinton: She was born to play this vampire. She has an ethereal, other-worldly quality that couldn’t have fit the part any better. She’s wise, kind, and deeply in love with life and art; she is the quintessential vampire heroine, but way cooler than any you have ever known.
  • Historical wit: Having lived for centuries, these characters were contemporaries of some of the greatest artists, scientists, and historical figures in western history. Their knowledge of events and people differs hysterically from the accounts told in history books.
  • A Touch of Magic: This was a small detail that I found utterly enthralling.  The film includes an inventive and beautiful twist on the vampire mythology that has to do with the power of touch.

The Bad:

  • Underwhelming Plot: The plot isn’t the focus of this film. Rather, it aims at (and is successful in) expressing a moment in time and painting a picture of life. I can appreciate the artful execution of it, and I know for many viewers out there, this film will be positively adored, but I was a little impatient and frustrated with the limited excitement and subtle, slow build of the plot. Mia Wasikowska’s character insights some action, but she doesn’t show up until well into the film and disappears shortly thereafter.

Overall:

I enjoyed many parts of this film and think it is successful in exploring and lamenting on the current state of the world and human existence. And though I understand and appreciate why this film is intentionally less plot-driven, it made it difficult for me to stay engaged for the full two hours.

Rating: 7.5/10