Movie: Only Lovers Left Alive
My Rating: 4 stars
Ok, I’m actually really embarrassed that I liked this movie so much. I pretty much think that Jim Jarmuch a big ol’ blowhard. So, I’ve really tried to avoid his work when at all possible. But, this movie is just so full of all the coolest people! My favorites, even. So, I really couldn’t resist. I’ll admit that I have a bit of a thing for Tom Hiddleston (along with the rest of America). And, I’m also completely in love with Tilda Swinton. So casting those two as androgynous, millennia-old, vampire lovers is a particularly deadly combination. And, throwing in the eminently cool Mia Wasikowka and Anton Yelchin as supporting characters was really only icing on the cake at that point. But, the casting makes the movie irritatingly undeniable. How could I have said no? So, you’re going to have to put up with a bit of Jarmuch’s self-indulgent fluff this one time.
This movie is about vampire lovers. And, these are particularly world-weary, culturally saturated souls that we’re dealing with. These kids are ancients—not quite sure what to do to entertain themselves in these shallow, modern times. There’s nothing left to learn or much that will surprise them. And, accomplishing things doesn’t really mean much to them anymore. So they’re left to wallow in their money, vintage clothes, and fancy homes until boredom consumes them totally. (Or, until something goes wrong). There’s contaminated blood to contend with (they are in the music industry after all). Or, snooping fans might blow their cover. It’s hard to make a body just disappear in this day and age.
But, that doesn’t mean our characters are vulnerable at all. They are predators. And, that confidence is so intoxicating. And where do sexy, reclusive vampires, who are casually dabbling in the music industry like to hang out? Well, Detroit, naturally. It’s got acres and acres full of abandoned homes. Tom Hiddleston’s presence won’t raise an eyebrow if someone notices him squatting in one of these residences, working on his newest album (even if he is wearing expensive vintage jeans). Plus Detroit’s got the coolest of the cool, underground, indie rock scenes. The location is ideal.
But, when we first meet our sultry demons, they’re a bit spread out geographically. And the other locations make just as much sense. Tilda Swinton starts off in Tangier, a city that comes “alive” at night with industry, with all the back-alley opium dens. And then, Mia Wasikowska has been spending some time in Los Angeles—a city that is well known for it’s predatory, soulless, night owls, and shiftless hipsters. The perfect place for a vampire princess to set up shop!
Not much really happens in this movie. There isn’t so much a story to pursue as there is a mood to create. And, this film definitely accomplishes that. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m going to recommend this movie to everyone. I mean, it’s maddeningly pretentious. I hate myself a little bit for liking it. But, I just couldn’t resist the siren song of Tilda Swinton’s reptilian allure. And, all the actors really do bring their A-game. So if you’re a fan of any of these beautiful creatures, you probably won’t want to miss this film. But, consider yourself warned.