13 September 2014

Blu-ray Review - Only Lovers Left Alive (2014)

Drama, Horror, Arthouse
Soda Pictures
BD/DVD Release Date:
15th September 2014(UK)
Rating: 15
Running Time: 123 Mins
Jim Jarmusch
Tom Hiddleston, Tilda Swinton, Mia Waskowska, John Hurt, Anton Yelchin
Buy:Only Lovers Left Alive [Blu-ray]

Jim Jarmusch has been making his own brand of off-kilter independent films for over 30 years at this point. His latest is the vampire film Only Lovers Left Alive. Jarmusch has often used a pre-existing genre, sometimes one he isn’t even that fond of like (for example, the western in his masterpiece Dead Man) to express himself. Jarmusch’s vampire film takes inspiration from The Addiction, Near Dark and Martin. It also takes inspiration from Mark Twain’s hilarious The Diary of Adam and Eve.

As you may therefore expect, the main characters are called Adam (Tom Hiddleston) and Eve (Tilda Swinton), who are immortal hipster vampires. They hung out with the romantic poets, they were there for the birth of rock n roll, etc. Adam is a suicidal musician, whilst Eve is has a more hopeful approach to everlasting life. They haven’t lived together for awhile but Eve flies back to Detroit where Adam lives so that they can be together. Things get complicated when Eve’s little sister Ava (Mia Wasikowska) arrives.

The film mostly just consists of the characters talking about music, morality, and love, with a bunch of deadpan humour throughout, not unlike Jarmusch’s earlier films. Jarmusch has never been an action-packed director, in his last film, The Limits of Control, he even tried to make “a action film without action”. Only Lovers Left Alive is a deliberately retro film with all the fetishism of analogue recording and record players, which Jarmusch clearly adores. It includes a great soundtrack that consists of psychedelic drones and vintage rockabilly.

It’s a very enjoyable film with great performances from Hiddleston and Swinton but also supporting performances from Jarmusch regulars like John Hurt and Jeffrey Wright. It’s Jarmusch’s best film since Broken Flowers, but it doesn’t have quite the energy of his earliest films, like Down by Law or Stranger Than Paradise. However, I’d rather see watch a Jim Jarmusch film over most other indie auteur’s any day.


Ian Schultz

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