Film Review – Only Lovers Left Alive

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Only-Lovers-Lefts-Alive-Poster

I have to admit, though anyone who has ever seen my Pinterest boards will already know this, I am a massive Tom Hiddleston fan. My favourite work of his is when he recites poetry, and naturally I’ve seen his work as Loki, but when looking through his career seeking something else to watch, what truly drew me to watching this film was Tilda Swinton, another actor whose body of work I am sadly not a familiar with as I should be. Add in the bonus that it is directed by the visionary Jim Jarmusch and I have honestly never been so excited to see a film.

Within moments of starting to watch the film I knew I had found one of those films that I will return to again and again. The soundtrack is gorgeous and unusual; it’s very complimentary of the cinematography. There isn’t a single scene in the entire film that hasn’t been shot beautifully even when showing the ruin of Detroit that is crumbling around them, Jarmusch has managed to capture the melancholy of such places but also the wonder of how humans do leave their mark on the world.

The story of the film is quite easy. Eve (played by Swinton) lives in Tangier with Christopher Marlowe (played by John Hurt), and enjoying the bustle of life. Adam (Hiddleston), her husband lives in suburban Detroit with only the occasional visit from Ian (Anton Yelchin) who supplies him with musical instruments and equipment for him to write and produce his underground music. He also supplies him with a wooden bullet. Adam has grown to become as melancholy as his surroundings.

On seeing how morose her husband has become, Eve travels from Tangier to see him. This isn’t a traditional romance story, because this isn’t about two people meeting each other and falling in love with each other. They already are in love and have been for centuries. The wooden bullet might have been in hint, but I haven’t explicitly said it yet, Eve and Adam are vampires. This story in the beginning of the film is in a way the happily ever after that you don’t usually see in films.

eve and adam's love

It’s lovely to watch how two people who are in love with each other┬ámaintain that love with each other. They are also in my option the perfect example of vampires. I find vampires fascinating creatures; it is their immortality that draws me in. However, in the majority of cases dating back to Bram Stoker’s Dracula, vampires are mostly portrayed as creatures to be desired sexually. More recent creations like in the Sookie Stackhouses novels and in the Twilight saga continue this tread.

While I enjoy Sookie Stackhouse, Eve and Adam have very quickly have become my favourite vampires; they are like any couple sensual with each other, but their connection to each other is deeper than most of the vapid relationships I’ve seen in film. Much of that can be credited to Swinton and Hiddleston’s performances, but also to the creation of the characters themselves.

They are deeply cultured and are restrained in the consumption of blood, preferring to get it from doctors rather than from the source. While Adam may have forgotten the philosophy his wife has learn over the centuries, but she quickly reteaches him. Self-obsession is a waste of life, a waste of time you could use better to appreciate to beauty of the world around you, of nature, the wonder of the written word and the talent of musicians. Adam himself appreciates the genius behind scientists.

wall of heroes

The film has been criticised by others for name-dropping famous people from throughout history, as if it is pretentious. While Adam claims that he doesn’t have heroes, his wall of photographs of some of humanity’s finest its obvious he does. The source of the majority of his sorrow is because of humanity’s fear of their own genius and imagination. How tragic that such an observation is so utterly true. If I had the chance to live forever I would seek out the best humanity has to offer as well, and I would live each day (or night technically) observing the beauty the world

The solid foundations of Eve and Adam’s relationship mean that when Eve’s wild and infamous sister Ava appears (Mia Wasikowska) they can handle whatever happens becuase this more primal creature has disrupted their lives.

The film is just utterly brilliant, and beautiful, and will be a life long favourite.

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2 responses »

  1. Pingback: Film Review – Mulholland Drive | A Young Writer's Notebook

  2. Pingback: Film Review – Doctor Strange | A Young Writer's Notebook

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