Review: Only Lovers Left Alive

Blink and you may have missed this one, a relatively small vampire flick in 2013, written and directed by Jim Jarmusch and starring Tom Hiddleston, Tilda Swinton, John Hurt, Anton Yelchin and Mia Wasikowska. Two, centuries old vampires, one living in Detroit and the other in Tangier, both learning to adapt to the society they find themselves living in while concealing their true nature; it’s not your average vampire film. Adam (Hiddleston) and Eve (Swinton) have their issues as you’d expect from a couple that’s been together for a good few centuries but manage to make it work just fine, that is until they receive a rather unwelcome visit from a relative.

I do believe that Swinton is basically the chameleon of acting, taking on such varied roles constantly and yet doing all of them justice, appearing in countless films whether you noticed or not: Trainwreck, Grand Budapest Hotel, Moonrise Kingdom, Snowpiercer, The Zero Theorem, We Need To Talk About Kevin, just to name a few of the most recent. As Eve she gives us something of a calm yet unconventional role, that even drifts toward the motherly, the wisdom that comes from all her years and yet unburdened by all she has seen; with Adam being the complete opposite, wise, yes but constantly brought down by the weight of their years. Hiddleston gives us the brooding genius musician, troubled to his core and yet though his issues may not be your everyday problems, it’s played out as if you can compare what they’re going through to another normal (human or zombie as they like to call us) couple. Both actors create this relationship that despite how different they are, is still old-fashioned and are incredibly captivating, despite not actually doing a great amount. It creates a great contradiction between the uniqueness of their situation (being vampires) and the completely normal thing that is their relationship, which is extremely well played by the cast.

Jim Jarmusch is not a name that everyone will know, he has had the opportunity to work with some great actors like: Bill Murray, Winona Ryder, Forest Whitaker, Jessica Lange and Sharon Stone, but his films tend to stay on the smaller scale and this film follows the same pattern, having not made a whole lot of noise on it’s release in 2013. Regardless, with a well written script that creates such a brilliant way that Adam and Eve converse, with great location choices from the half deserted Detroit with all it’s man made monstrosities versus Tangier with its buildings like remnants from an older world, which are perfect embodiments of the story. It’s a new and fresh take on vampirism, without trying to make it something appealing to a mainstream audiences with special effects and action sequences, keeping it small and captivating; without having your characters chomping on the neck of every poor soul that happens to cross their path.

This film may not quite start a trend for vampire films but it’s something different and a much welcome change; something based on an old book and an even older legend brought into the modern world without being cheapened. An interesting story with great characters and visually on point, something I’d love to see more of; it may be small but it holds your attention with ease and draws you in for a much more simple and relatable story than we’re used to.

Verdict: 7.5/10

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