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Film Review: Only Lovers Left Alive

 

One might say that the life has been sucked out of the vampire genre. So naturally when coming across yet another vampire movie one has to say “what makes this one different from the rest?” I mean you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all right? Wrong!

Only Lovers Left Alive, written and directed by Jim Jarmusch. is about two vampires, appropriately named Adam (Tom Hiddelston) and Eve (Tilda Swinton), who have been married lovers for centuries. Eve now lives in Tangier, Morocco and surrounds herself with her many, many books and frequently meets up with fellow vampire and lifelong friend Christopher Marlowe (played by John Hurt), while Adam now lives as a reclusive musician in downtown Detroit, Michigan US. Living on different continents they are reunited when Eve comes to visit Adam fearing his depressive mood after a facetime call. Through their conversations we learn that this is nothing new and Adam has been having these depressive episodes for centuries. Adam and Eve’s lives are further disrupted by the arrival of Eve’s younger sister Ava (Mia Wasikowska).

Only Lovers Left Alive is delightfully dark and edgy, the film has a heavy melancholy vibe which is offset by its brilliantly witty and quirky humour, which gives the film its inescapable charm. One of the things I particularly liked about this film is the constant contrast between light and dark. 

The film's lighting, the shots of the chess board, the characters themselves reinforce this high contrast as Eva is a highly optimistic person; she has platinum blonde hair and wears lightly coloured clothes perfected with a pair of white leather gloves, while in stark opposition Adam is a very gloomy person, has black hair and wears darkly coloured clothes completed with a pair of black leather gloves. This gives the film beautiful imagery. I also liked the films slow pace, and I mean slow, the characters are in no rush what so ever, but the pace fits perfectly for a film about two vampire lovers who lie around, philosophising about life, humanity and their place in it all.

Only Lovers Left Alive is also inundated with cultural references from famous authors and poets, musicians and rock stars, scientist and philosophers - the list goes on. This shows Adam and Eve to be highly cultivated, artistic and intellectual beings as well as adding to the sense that these two vampires are centuries old and that they knew a lot of these renowned cultural figures as friends. There is also a suggestion that Adam, Eve and their friend Christopher have secretly created many famed artistic works and allowed others to take credit so as not to give away the fact that they are immortal.

At the heart of this film is this eccentric love story spanning centuries between these two individuals which is adeptly brought to life through the wonderfully original performances of the film’s talented cast, especially the two leads, topped off with Jarmusch’s unique and evocative soundtrack makes this vampire movie an entrancing watch.

 Written by Sophie Watts

 

 

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