Only Lovers Left Alive (18)

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The ViewBirmingham Review

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Review byMatthew Turner19/02/2014

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 123 mins

Enjoyably Jarmuschian take on the vampire movie, enlivened by a literate, drily witty script, a superb soundtrack and a pair of delightful performances from Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston.

What's it all about?
Written and directed by Jim Jarmusch, Only Lovers Left Alive stars Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton as Adam and Eve (the film lets you make your own mind up as to whether that's a coincidence or not), a pair of British-accented vampires who have been in love for centuries (at one point we see a photo from their third wedding, in 1868). As the film begins, Eve is hanging out in Tangiers with Christopher 'Kit' Marlowe (John Hurt), while reclusive rockstar-like Adam is holed up in a Gothic house in Detroit, endlessly listening to vinyl records and occasionally buying vintage guitars off his roadie-esque friend Ian (Anton Yelchin).

When Eve returns to Detroit, the pair have a joyous reunion and settle into a routine of sex, scoring high quality blood from Doctor Watson (Jeffrey Wright), driving around the ruins of Detroit and reminiscing about the good old centuries. However, their vampiric idyll is disrupted by the arrival of Eve's thrill-seeking younger sister Ava (Mia Wasikowska), who still feeds the old-fashioned way and appears to lack anything resembling impulse control.

The Good
Tilda Swinton was clearly born to play a vampire and she duly delivers a terrific performance as Eve, while Tom Hiddleston is delightfully deadpan as Adam, channelling a hint of Jagger, a dash of Bowie and a soupçon of Withnail. They also have palpable chemistry together, their mutual passion still burning after centuries, despite their general air of world-weariness.

The supporting cast are equally good: Anton Yelchin sticks close to his usual sweet-natured screen persona as Ian, while John Hurt is typically wonderful as Marlowe (there's an enjoyable running joke about how he wrote all of Shakespeare's plays), but Mia Wasikowska (who is choosing her projects brilliantly and impresses more with each film she does) pretty much steals the film as Ava, despite only appearing in a small handful of scenes.

The Great
Anyone familiar with Jarmusch's previous films won't be surprised to learn that the script is packed with gloriously deadpan humour and that the witty, literate dialogue is a pleasure to listen to, even if there's very little in the way of actual plot. The film is further enhanced by a suitably moody soundtrack courtesy of Jozef van Wissem and Jarmusch's own band SQÜRL.

Worth seeing?
Jim Jarmusch's take on the vampire movie is an enjoyably stylish, drily funny and wonderfully acted comedy-drama that's packed with delicious dialogue and delightful deadpan moments. Great final scene too. Recommended.

Film Trailer

Only Lovers Left Alive (18)
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Content updated: 17/12/2017 04:26

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