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- Rated: R
- Starring: Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska, Anton Yelchin, John Hurt
- Written By: Jim Jarmusch
- Directed By: Jim Jarmusch
- Studio: Recorded Picture Company (RPC),
- Distrubtor: Sony Pictures
- Run Time: 123 Minutes
- Special Features: See Below
Only Lovers Left Alive Blu-ray Review
In my top 10 of the year!
By Robert T. Trate
August 26, 2014
Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)
© Sony Pictures
The Vampire market is a saturated, fat mess. We are passed the point of sparkling movie gods and TV series that ignore their eternal characters aging. I saw the trailer for Jim Jarmusch’s (Dead Man, Broken Flowers) Only Lovers Left Alive totally cold. No one told me to check it out. Imagine my surprise when I saw Loki, better known as Tom Hiddleston, playing an ageless rock ’n’ roller with Tilda Swinton as his wife. The trailer set it up perfectly. In being a recluse and a mystery, more people would only be interested in Adam’s (Hiddleston) music. To this he replied, “what a drag”. Only Lovers Left Alive does not feature a plot about a vampire rock star who is trying to escape his own fame. In fact, there isn’t much of a plot to begin with, which is what makes it so damn good.
Adam and Eve (Swinton) look as if they are complete opposites. He wears all black, lives in Detroit, plays music, fiddles with old technology, despises the world, and buys his blood from the hospital. She wears all white, lives in Tangier, reads any book she can find, embraces the magic of the world, dances for no reason, and gets her blood from a legendary author (John Hurt). It is not until she calls him on her iPhone that we learn they are husband and wife. She sees the sorrow in him and decides to visit her man.
In the realm of Vampire movies there are always rules, things they can and can’t do. Jim Jarmusch dumps the majority of these scenes into the special features. Yes, they burn when sunlight hits them and so fourth. To concentrate on his small story at hand, Jarmusch assumes we know all we need to know about the standard Vampire mythos and reveals one small thing about his Vampires. Ian (Anton Yelchin) is Adam’s go-to guy. A jack of all trades that keeps Adam in stock of vintage guitars and fulfills the occasional odd request. Jarmusch’s Vampires know how old an item is by touching it. So when numerous guitars are displayed at Adam’s feet, he knows all he needs to know about them. By the end of this scene, Adam asks for a wooden bullet. He clearly has had enough of the world.
Eve’s arrival opens up this small story and we learn of Adam’s dismay. The zombies, what he calls humans, have contaminated everything in the world, including their own blood. Adam is starting to feel it and his lust for life is starting to fade. This is evident in his choice of where he resides. Adam lives in Detroit and upon taking Eve on a tour of the city, he beautifully illustrates what was once there and then shows her/ us what remains. Hiddleston sells us on our own downfall. It is evident that darkness, Adam, clearly cannot survive without light, Eve. Her arrival changes everything including the tempo of the film. However, Adam’s re-kindled happiness is short lived as Eve’s sister Eva (Mia Wasikowska) arrives.
The plot or story to Only Lovers Left Alive is a simple one. If you are with the person you love, then embrace it and live every moment as if it were your last. When Adam and Eve’s world comes crumbling down, they retreat to what they believe is safety. The world, it seems, might have no place for these two. This film is brilliantly acted and has an incredible heart. Never before have two Vampires been on screen where their love was all that mattered and their struggle to survive was so important to the audience. This was my second time seeing Only Lovers Left Alive and the layers, symbolism, and heart just revealed themselves even more. Easily one of the top 10 films of the year.
Blu-ray Special Features:
Traveling at Night with Jim Jarmusch -- A portrait of Director Jim Jarmusch at work on the set of his latest film, Only Lovers Left Alive (49:23). This was incredibly dry and not really a making-of or behind-the-scenes that most people are accustomed to. More of an art house documentary.
Deleted & Extended Scenes (26:22). This is true gem of the Blu-ray. With nearly 30 minutes of cut scenes, you get a better understanding of all their Vampire abilities. What is really interesting is that many of these cut moments would have made the film much lighter in tone. Sadly, many of the scenes and dialogue involve Swinton’s Eve bringing Adam back into the light. She is enjoying the ride and cannot wait to see how humanity finishes. With the way these scenes are arranged, it is as if you are getting a 30 minute short film.
Yasmine Hamdan "Hal" Music Video - An extended version of Yasmine Hamdan performing "Hal."
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