Starring Tom Hiddleston, Tilda Swinton & Mia Wasikowska
Jim Jarmusch’s latest project caters to quite a narrow margin, and those belonging to that margin will suck it up with a ferocious thirst. Those outside this demographic may look on with glazed eyes with the feeling that two hours have just been drained by a sluggishly paced, tonally indecisive take on an over-populated sub-genre.
Only Lovers Left Alive is a tale of two vampires, Adam and Eve (see what they did there?) who’s love for each other spans a wealth of time. It’s the present day and pure blood (aka ‘the good stuff’) isn’t readily available so, whenever they can take a break from staring at their naval, they must slink off into the night to pick up the scarlet nectar as if it were a highly illegal drug.
But our deadly duo can’t always have peace and quiet and their moments of pensive reminiscence are often disturbed by Adam’s friend Ian (an endearing Anton Yelchin) and Eve’s younger sister Ava (Waszikowska). Although their unexpected visits may be an inconvenience for Adam and Eve, these are actually the moments that inject some much needed humour and dynamism into an otherwise limp spectacle
There are some thought-provoking ideas at the core of the film, and as the characters thirst for blood intensifies the feeling of desperation is palpable. But the characters just aren’t sympathetic enough to deserve our pity and, as a result, it’s a strangely apathetic viewing experience.
The film will undoubtedly be labelled as ‘effortlessly cool’ despite the fact that it tries so damn hard that it’s occasionally at risk of bursting a blood vessel. Granted, it’s decorated with a few pleasing flourishes such as the establishing shots that spin in time to a vinyl record and the orgasm-esque blood drinking scenes, but this is also a film where the protagonists eat blood ice lollies and drop intertextual A-bombs like it’s their first day at film school.
Only Lovers Left Alive wears its brain on its sleeve instead of its heart and frequently mistakes obnoxiousness for wit. As a result, it just becomes a film that, despite its handful of strengths, you just want to hate.