REVIEW: Only Lovers Left Alive – 4/5

Director: Jim Jarmusch

Certificate: 15

Cast: Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska, Anton Yelchin, John Hurt

Running Time: 123 min

Plot: Join the jaded Adam and the enchanting Eve, two ancient fang-crossed lovers that spend their time making music, sipping on O-negative and resisting the pulsating temptations of live human blood.


A film about blood addicts? Veinspotting, anyone? I thank you!

The Vampire myth is an ever evolving one. Unlike cultural ulcers Twilight and The Vampire Diaries, Jim Jarmuchs’s refreshing new film will restore your faith in the genre. Transitioning between Morocco and a desolate post-industrial Detroit, Only Lovers Left Alive concerns itself with the multiple-life-long relationship between nocturnal soul-mates Adam (Tom Hiddleston) and Eve (Tilda Swindon). Being hipsters of the highest order, this pair of pretentious blood suckers spend their days (or rather nights) wrapped in each other arms, reminiscing on their renaissance glory days. Eve represents the academic side of the duo, and she still retains her lust for life, but her disillusioned husband Adam is struggling to go on. Having anonymously sold his music to popular mainstream performers since the times of Schubert, he finds himself in something of a creative crisis. To add to this, their haemoglobin dependency is becoming harder to cater to – multiple inferences to the spread of STDs suggest that the supply of healthy human blood is drastically dwindling.


At first, Only Lovers Left Alive  is visually enticing but vaguely disinteresting. With the arrival of Eve’s loose cannon half-sister Ava (Mia Wasikowska) things really pick up, and it’s worth staking it out for the latter half of the film. Ava’s uncontrollable addiction for the forbidden turns the entire dynamic upside down (in hindsight this shouldn’t really phase the protagonists – they are vampires after all). John Hurt is another fantastic addition to the cast, popping up in the role of the notorious Christopher Marlowe, known as well for his writings as he was for his rampantly roguish behaviour. Marlowe has plenty of monikers as it is; spy, heretic, duellist, tobacco user – well, now you can add ‘vampire’ to that list.


Kooky director Jim Jarmusch (Broken Flowers, Ghost Dog) is quite a visionary character, and his soundtrack choices are very intriguing – grunge and bhangra make a surprisingly complimentary double act. The framing of each scene is akin to gothic high art, and supple, exposed flesh is always a prominent part of the scenery. Draped across one another, the eternal lovers look so incredibly vibrant, yet in their stillness they feel as cold as a couple of bloodsickles (Eve’s dessert of choice).


A body disposal to rival Janet Leigh’s in Psycho  redefines the word grim, but overall the film has a dark, sharp-tongued humour to it.  Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton deserve most of the credit – they really sink their teeth into the roles. Behind Adam and Eve’s calculating eyes you can sense infinite wisdom, but also intense pain. Only Lovers Left Alive  is starkly different from anything else out right now, and it’s a solid reinvention of the vampire legend.


Thanks for reading. WordPress’ Youtube embed not working atm, so you’ll just have to use this link for the trailer….

One comment

  1. “they really sink their teeth into the roles”. See, you’re punny too. Big fan of the blog. Love your insights.

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