ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE
(director/writer: Jim Jarmusch; cinematographer: Yorick Le Saux; editor: Affonso Goncalves; music: Jozef Van Wissem; cast: Tom Hiddleston (Adam), Tilda Swinton (Eve), Mia Wasikowska (Ava), John Hurt (Marlowe), Anton Yelchin (Ian), Jeffrey Wright (Dr. Watson), Slimane Dazi (Bilal); Runtime: 122; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Jeremy Thomas/Reinhard Brundig; Sony Picture Classics; 2013)
“Wickedly weird and delicious vampire story.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Wickedly weird and delicious vampire story, as written and directed by one of America’s greatest living filmmakers, Jim Jarmusch(“Mystery Train”/”Dead Man”/”Broken Flowers”). It pays homage to all the outsider artists, scientists and romantics seeking eternal love, who took risks to get it out what they were doing to make the world a better place and suffered at the hands of the ignorant. In the end the great artists and scientists were either frustrated or destroyed and as a result life never evolved as much as it could have.
This is a vampire movie unlike any other, as Jarmusch sets a cool surrealist style that travels well in his bleak underground world of eccentrics. Add to that the captivating performances by Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton, and you have a signature Jarmusch triumph that appeals to those who stray from mainstream films.
Adam (Tom Hiddleston) and Eve (Tilda Swinton) are two fragile, sensitive and intellectual vampires, who have survived for ages. The musical Adam lives as a recluse in a secluded mansion in abandoned Detroit, where he plays vinyl records, collects invaluable antique guitars that are secured for him by a good-natured zombie dealer (Anton Yelchin) and is nourished by buying from a corrupt hospital doctor (Jeffrey Wright) his neededsupply of O Negative blood — thereby he avoids sucking the blood of victims. Adam married Eve in 1868, and though living apart for many years they still are madly in love with each other. She’s also highly cultured and lives in Tangiers, and gets her pure blood supply from the vampire Christopher Marlowe. Yes, the writer from about 400 years ago who is still pissed at Shakespeare for stealing his stuff.
Eve flies to Detroit to join her delicate and lonely husband. Things change for the mature couple, who have tamed their desire to kill for blood without yielding their passionate inner drive for creativity, when Eve’s reckless, meddlesome and unsettled younger sister Ava (Mia Wasikowska) arrives as an uninvited and unwanted guest of the couple in Detroit and creates grave problems.
It’s a wonderful enriching dream-like film, that’s driven by mesmerizing photography, a trance-like music that veers between classic, soul, rock and Arabic, and possesses a magnificent droll wit. There’s an eerie car tour of a deserted nighttime Detroit, that’s magically filmed. Its strange sights stuck with me long after seeing the film, and perhaps is an omen for what awaits down the road for an America that has exploited the world.
REVIEWED ON 12/52014 GRADE: A