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Issue No. 16 - Chaos

FILM REVIEW: ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE (2014)

I am not a particular fan of vampire films. However, when one is as droll and articulate as Jim Jarmusch’s riff on the genre, there is much to appreciate. Starring the endlessly intriguing Tilda Swinton as Eve, living in the wonderfully exotic Tangiers, and whose best friend and compatriot Christopher Marlowe, played by John Hurt, provides her with her blood supply. Her lover of several hundred years, Adam (Tom Hiddleston), a depressed musician living in downtrodden downtown Detroit, is surrounded by a collection of vintage electric guitars, sound systems and vinyl records. He is a reclusive artist who has attained a Banksy-like cult status and is paranoid about groupies who are copying his music and are desperate for sightings. Wearing bizarre disguises, he only leaves home to go to the blood bank, where he has an arrangement with the night duty doctor, Dr. Faust (Jeffrey Wright). All of his other outside needs are provided by a gopher/friend (Anton Yelchin) who procures rare guitars and arcane musical equipment. Adam and Eve speak on the phone every night via Skype, but when Eve becomes worried about Adam’s loss of interest in living for another few hundred years, she comes to Detroit to be with him. They are physically striking as lovers. She, wearing a huge wig of pale bed-head styled yak-hair, and Adam, with his rock musician’s lank dark hair and pale skin with dark-rimmed eyes, are the epitome of heroin chic. Their reunion is langorous and intimate. Adam’s ennui is based on his disappointment over the state of humanity and its loss of values. (Not too surprising when you live for hundreds of years that you might feel outpaced by changes in society.) Their idyll is interrupted by the unexpected visit of Eve’s younger sister, Ava (Mia Wasikowska). She is so disruptive and irresponsible that she threatens to blow their cover. (There is a body to dispose of.) So Eve convinces Adam to leave and come back to Tangiers with her. She books their tickets as Daisy Buchanan and Stephen Daedelus. I will not reveal what they discover upon their return. But life will not be quite as smooth.

There is a great soundtrack, and the cinematography of Yorick Le Saux renders the richly dark interiors and night streets of Tangiers and Detroit in atmospheric detail. As vampire films go this one is pretty bloodless. Most often they are too cool for all that tiresome neck-biting. So no need for fang-growing. They drink their blood from stemmed cocktail glasses and then seem to go into a heroin swoon. Things that came to mind were: Where do vampires get their money? They always seem to have plenty.

And now modern medicine has discovered that young blood can cure many medical conditions and, most obviously, slow down the aging process. Maybe Jim Jarmusch is on to something and he has seen the future....

Review by Belle McIntyre

 

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