Only Lovers Left Alive Review: The Hipster’s Answer to Twilight

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Being one of the oldest, most recognizable folkloric creatures, it’s great to see that there are still ways to keep vampires fresh and cool, even if the story isn’t nearly as engaging as its setting and tone.

Adam and Eve (Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton, respectively, and yes, like the Bible) are an immortal married couple living across the world from each other. Adam is a musician who refuses to let his music leave his gothic cave of a home. Eve is in Tangier looking for the best blood on the market.

They are cultured beyond our wildest dreams, referencing scientists, authors, and musicians they have influenced over their endless lives. Adam’s Detroit home is filled with vintage furniture and musical instruments. Eve’s hair looks like something you’d find on a Brooklyn girl who hasn’t showered in a few days and is looking for pot. They’re the oldest hipsters in the world. I hate to admit this, but they are also incredibly cool. Hiddleston and Swinton have a quiet but sexy chemistry, flowing with each other in a way only worn in relationships can deliver.

But for all the great moments they share, the chill vibe, and the clever tie-in with classic vampiric mythos, Only Lovers Left Alive doesn’t have an interesting story to tell about these interesting characters. The main drive of the film is Adam’s suicide contemplations, the whole picture being about finding reasons to keep living, no matter how long you’ve been alive. But before Adam and Eve physically reunite, the film is an absolute bore. The leads’ chemistry is enough to revive it, but only temporarily until the plot becomes about family drama.

Director Jim Jarmusch seems to have built a wonderful world for these vampires to exist in, but he doesn’t take it far enough to tell us a compelling narrative. It’s the downfall for what could have been a really great film. But there’s too many sub-characters we don’t care about, too many long scenes that do nothing to propel Adam’s arc, and too few genuine plot points to keep things moving. Still though, while these vampires don’t sparkle, their chemistry certainly does, saving the film from complete detachment. Grade: B

By Matt Dougherty

 

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