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New Release Review - Only Lovers Left Alive

A pair of centuries old vampiric lovers are reunited in modern Detroit.

Directed by: Jim Jarmusch
Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Tilda Swinton, Mia Wasikowska, Anton Yelchin, John Hurt, Jeffrey Wright




Reclusive musician Adam (Hiddleston) hides from the world in a remote house on the outskirts of Detroit; the reason being, he’s a vampire who has lived for centuries.  Adam keeps himself supplied with blood thanks to an arrangement with a crooked doctor (Wright) at a local blood bank. His lover of many centuries, Eve (Swinton), flies into town from Tangiers to join him. When the reunited couple are joined by Eve's volatile sister, Ava (Wasakowska), Adam’s stable life faces disruption.
2014 has seen me enjoy movies from several film-makers whose work I had previously failed to warm to; Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel, the Coens’ Inside Llewyn Davis and Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave. Jim Jarmusch is another auteur whose appeal has eluded me and Only Lovers Left Alive does little to change my view.
Thanks to the current obsession in the media with vampires, this would seem Jarmusch’s most commercial film to date and there’s certainly little challenging about its straightforward plot. The brooding vampire aesthetic has been done to death at this point and Jarmusch adds nothing original to the mix here. Only Lovers Left Alive almost feels like a retread of the late Tony Scott’s 1983 debut The Hunger and aside from the odd literary reference here and there, could sit comfortably among its contemporary young adult peers.
Swinton seems ready made for a vampire role, as it seems the actress hasn’t aged a day in the three decades we’ve watched her onscreen. Sadly, Jarmusch gives Swinton little to sink her fangs into with this role but sit around like Narnia’s White Witch on her day off. The film momentarily awakes from its heroin addled like stupor with the introduction of Wasikowska, an actress who is quietly building an impressive backlog of roles, but her intervention is all too brief.
The idea that vampires would be the most cultured people alive, thanks to having so much time on their hands, is an interesting concept that's briefly touched upon here but Only Lovers Left Alive is one for Jarmusch completists and teenage Goths only.
5/10


Eric Hillis

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