Eschewing plot for mood, Jim Jarmusch makes a hypnotic mess.
Finally, a film that does vampires right. Or, better yet, for adults. Twihards take note. This is how you do brooding.
PHOTO BY SANDRO KOPP
Left to right: Tom Hiddleston as Adam and Tilda Swinton as Eve in Only Lovers Left
Alive from Sony Pictures Classics.
Jim Jarmuschs latest, Only Lovers Left Alive, is about vampires only because the main characters happen to be vampires.
Adam (Tom Hiddleston) and Eve (Tilda Swinton) have been lovers for centuries. After Adams contemplation of suicide, Eve leaves her home in Tangier to be by his side. Adam and Eves precarious footing is further threatened by the uninvited arrival of Eves carefree and uncontrollable little sister, Ava (Mia Wasikowska).
Considering there is no straight-ahead point-A-to-Point-B plot, the director doesnt stray from his niche, focusing more on mood, metaphor and theme. This is not a problem since Jarmusch has a loaded cast to play with.
The yin and yang of Hiddleston and Swinton is magnetic.
Brooding and contemplative, the combination of old soul wisdom and young lust is alluring. Driving through the suburban streets of Detroit doesnt sound as cinematically appealing until you hear the duo wax poetically about life and its cyclical motion. The dialogue can sound a little like a Rust Cohle outtake from "True Detective," but while Matthew McConaughey sounds crazy, Swinton and Hiddleston make it smolder. Its good to see Wasikowska stretch out and play something less subdued as she plays an excellent whirling dervish of youth next.
If you focus too much on the ambience, you just might miss the commentary Jarmusch deftly inserts. The vampire serves as resonant metaphor for love and the world we live in. The past is considered common knowledge while most view the present for what it is as something inherently individualistic. However, if youre outside that circle (as vampires are), the past and present become one and the same with only love remaining eternal.
Driven by sensual photography, trance-like music and gallows humor, Only Lovers Left Alive is a meditation on the mysteries of everlasting love.