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Review: Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)


Title: Only Lovers Left Alive

Genre: Drama/Fantasy

Director: Jim Jarmusch

Stars: Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska

Grade: B+

In a Nutshell:

Adam (Tom Hiddleston) is a sequestered underground musician with a brooding contempt for the state of the human race and collection of vintage guitars. No, he’s not simply an insufferable edgy hipster – he and his lover Eve (Tilda Swindon) are vampires. Their tranquil idling in Detroit is disrupted by the unanticipated arrival of Eve’s rambunctious younger sister Ava (Mia Wasikowska).

The Critique:

I was captivated by the dynamic chemistry between our two immortal protagonists and their contrasting worldviews. Adam’s dark cynicism has festered over centuries, and his nostalgic admiration of great scientists, poets, and philosophers from the past stems from his belief that us “zombies”

reached the pinnacle of our existence long ago. Eve, on the other hand, has a steadfast appreciation for the pleasures of life in the present

and firmly contends that human civilization will be revitalized in the face of seemingly insurmountable hardships or what Adam sees as impending doom. This makes Detroit a perfectly fitting setting for illustrating the thematic concepts of the film. After all, our city’s motto is

“Speramus meliora; resurgent cineribus” – “We hope for better things; it shall rise from the ashes.”

Only Lovers Left Alive is a film that doesn’t aim to be an action-packed horror in the slightest. It is slow, deliberate, quiet, and intimate. It’s quite mesmerizing, especially because of its eerie yet rhythmic soundtrack. Events feel as if they’re floating into one another as time elongates and loses its structure. While this is intentional, it certainly won’t appeal to all manner of tastes and could seem meandering, even boring, in its subdued nature to some. However, I personally found the experience worthwhile due to Hiddleston and Swinton’s stellar performances.

To Go, to Rent, or to Stream: If you’re in the mood for something artsy, laid back, and atmospheric, Only Lovers Left Alive is available to rent on Amazon Prime and YouTube.

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