17/02/2014

Only Lovers Left Alive

Vampires have had a hard time of late. Thanks to that sparkly-skinned, wolf-fighting, red-eyed loser, the reputation of the once-cool undead has been irreparably damaged, and no-one is more fed up with those pathetic tosspots than Adam and Eve: the titular lovers in Jim Jarmusch's romance/vampire/drama.

Adam (a frequently topless Tom Hiddleston, ladies?) is a reclusive rock star who's only connection to the modern world is via a starstruck and unwashed man named Ian (Anton Yelchin) whom he pays to bring him vintage guitars. While he resides in Detroit, his wife Eve (Tilda Swinton) lives in Tangier and rushes to his aid when she senses he isn't having the great time you'd assume leather-wearing vampires would be having. That may be because he's constantly bothered by young fans lurking around his mansion and the fact that he gets his blood from a doctor (Jeffrey Wright) instead of from the throat of young virgins. Still, his wife's presence instantly cheers him up as together they consume blood in the shape of ice lollies, play chess and generally lie around in a state of undress. Eve's little sister Ava (Mia Wasikowska) shows up to ruin all the fun the way little sisters do and after throwing her out they go to Tangier and find themselves without a source, so will the couple have to return to ye olde vampiric ways and actually drain humans to stave off starvation?

Only Lovers Left Alive is 122 minutes long and most of that is spent doing nothing. The camera swirls around the pair as they (separately) listen to music, saunter around and generally be pissed off with modern life and it takes about half an hour for Eve to eventually join her spouse. Very little actually happens here and when it does it goes at a snail's pace, and while that successfully creates tone and atmosphere together with the superior soundtrack, costume design and performances, it doesn't stop it dragging its feet and becoming a bit boring. That's probably Jarmusch's meta way of exposing our obsession for instancy and rapidly depleting attention span and if so, point taken, but I can't help but wish the plot had a little something extra to drive the entire thing forward. Still, it's worth seeing Tilda playing the stylish undead aka a role she was born to play and did I mention Twiddles gets his top off? He gets his top off. Tumblr won't know what hit it.