I don’t know why I’d put off watching this film for so long, because although it paces a touch slower for my liking, it proves to deliver a thought-provoking piece in a genre that seems ever so exhausted.
This is the first Jim Jarmusch film I watch, and it won’t be the last. He’s said about life, that it’s beauty can be found in the small details, rather than big events. This philosophy best captures the essence of Only Lovers Left Alive. In an elegant way, this film shows us a couple of romantic vampires, and invites us to hang out with them. This is a love story, not in the conventional way, but in an abstract way, which proves to be a curious undertaking of acceptance.
Although, technically this film is about vampires, the word, ‘vampire’, is never actually said. And instead of explaining things to us, as if we were new to the idea of vampires, it just presents us a couple that truly belong together, and they happen to be vampires. I really have had enough of vampires in films, they seem to be everywhere, but Only Lovers Left Alive, manages to use the ‘vampire’ mythology merely as an aid to tell a story, it doesn’t bathe in it, and doesn’t lather the screen with vampire action. I think for movies in exhausted genres, for them to be fresh, they need feel different, and they need to present a story with a fresh angle. This film accomplishes this.
Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston are a match made in heaven, and they evoke such on screen chemistry, that their fiction romance feels non-fictional. Well, that’s probably an exaggeration, but what I mean is, that it’s believable, they sell it well. These too are the coolest vampires on the block, and I am sure some Twilight fans will scoff at this. Even though they are named Eve and Adam, respectively, this is not in reference to the Biblical Eve and Adam, but rather it references the satirical work of Mark Twain’s and his, The Diaries of Adam and Eve. When Jim Jarmusch ‘realised’ this, he didn’t seem to bothered.
Visually this film is stunning, the colours and choices in camera angles, all call for a visual feast. There is a lot of darkness in this film, not a lot of natural light was used, which would seem like a flaw, but somehow it’s managed to capture a visual tone that almost lullabies us into cinema bliss. Add some great music, tech-rock beats and some classical, how can you go wrong!?
I have two major criticisms for this film, firstly there isn’t much in terms of a story here. We have some strong and intriguing characters, and I kind of wish we went along with them on a more interesting ride, rather than just ‘hanging out’ with them, even though that is still pretty great in itself. Secondly, there is a lot of name-dropping and references to caring for the earth, but it doesn’t seem to try and make any points, or deliver any clear-cut messages. Perhaps the messages are there, alluded to, for those that really want to pause and think about it, which is fine, but I believe in clarity, and sometimes all it takes is a simple scene, or a cleverly written line for your message to be evident.
FilmMuncher’s, if you’re interested in having somewhat of a leisurely time with Jim Jarmusch and his cool vampires, then this is a film for you! Other-wise some may find this 123 minute ‘saga’ a touch boring.
TRIVIA COOKIE: Jim Jarmusch calls himself a Marlovian, a person who believes that Christopher Marlowe wrote the worlds of Shakespeare. John Hurt plays the part of Christopher Marlowe in this film.