Tuesday, January 6, 2015
Indie Review: Only Lovers Left Alive (2014)
It seems that before and after the Twilight series unfortunately came into our midst, the vampire genre has been in a slight decay. But leave it to auteurs like Jim Jarmusch to take a film in that genre and create a loose yet hypnotic story about sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll.
Only Lovers Left Alive follows the story of a centuries-old vampire named Eve (Tilda Swinton) who goes from Tangier to Detroit to reunite with her melancholic musician husband Adam (Tom Hiddleston) who has become depressed by how society has become over the years. But their happiness is short-lived when Eve's sister Ava (Mia Wasikowska) arrives.
What fascinated me so much about this film was no, even though there isn't exactly a conventional plot or story, there is still full-fledged characters, symbolic settings, and thematic material. By giving us two settings, Jim Jarmusch manages to contrast both Detroit, which looks like a wasteland and represents the decay of society that Adam believes is taking place, and you have the lavish and more lively Tangier. Not only that, but because Detroit is an older city, the way it was portrayed makes it seem as old and wise as Adam feels. Plus, because Tangier is very vibrant, it shows how Eve feels much "younger" despite being centuries older. So not only does Jarmusch create dynamic characters, but it feels as if the settings are characters themselves.
Next, I'll get into the performances. Tilda Swinton continues to prove herself as one of the best actresses working today with her performance as Eve, a vampire who is a rather care free yet supportive wife who tries to get her husband out of his funk. Speaking of which, Tom Hiddleston does a complete and successful 180 from his Loki character as Adam, who creates his own dead end despair as he becomes reclusive once people tell him about his great music due to his fame. Not only does the film have a subtle theme involving fame, but is even a metaphor for drug addiction. Adam and Eve have their own special dealers for blood that they call the "good stuff" and the scenes where the charactera drink that blood show them getting high off of it like they are shooting or snorting a drug. I also want to give a shoutout to Mia Wasikowska, who plays Ava, Eve's spunky yet mischievous sister. Despite having a rather limited amount of screentime, Wasikowska certainly makes the most of it as she brings comedic relief to a character that you just want to shake.
Overall, Only Lovers Left Alive is an extremely unique tale about the vampire mythos that is filmed with loose precision. It successfully manages to show how you can have simple essentials to a film, like characters and even setting, to create something fresh without needing a story with a straight forward arc.
Would I Recommend It?:
Yes, even though it might not suit everybody's tastes. This movie is quite talky and their isn't necessarily a plot per se. But, if you love vampire movies or are a fan of the actors, I would say give it a watch.