Entertainment Movies Only Lovers Left Alive: An adult vampire tale
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Only Lovers Left Alive: An adult vampire tale

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Director: Jim Jarmusch
Cast: Tom Hiddleston, Tilda Swinton, Mia Wasikowska, John Hurt, Anton Yelchin
Duration: 123 mins
Rating: M – Supernatural themes, coarse language and nudity
Release Date: 17 April, 2014

What the critics say: ‘Wickedly delicious’. Rotten Tomatoes Tomato Meter: 87%

Stephen A Russell for thelowdownunder.com says: “Lovers of the more overwrought teen vampire lustings of the interminable Twilight franchise or the derailing silliness of True Blood are unlikely to satisfy their needs here, but for those whose romantic heroes more closely resemble the protagonists of Bruce Robinson’s Withnail & I, there is, indeed, a lot to love.

Less concerned with sex than it is the triumphs of human artistic endeavour, Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive stars the magnificent Tilda Swinton as Eve, the centuries-old literature-inclined lover of Tom Hiddlestone’s very Kurt Bain-alike depressed musician Adam. Living apart for an undisclosed amount of time, she spends her nights in a Tangiers boudoir reading in every conceivable language and getting her blood fix from a mysterious renaissance figure with an age-old chip on his shoulder, played with devilish panache by John Hurt.

Adam exhorts his blood supply from a corrupt medic (a sneeringly good cameo by Jeffrey Wright) at a Detroit hospital, living on the now crumbling edges of the city in the shabby chic cluster of a fading mansion, enlisting the aid of ‘zombie,’ in other words human helper Ian (Anton Yelchin) to fetch him vintage guitars and a wooden bullet, presumably with the intention of ending it all.

Sensing his increasing detachment from the world and suspecting it owes a great deal to his hanging around with all those depressive Romantics, like Lord Byron, despite her intense dislike for travel and the awkwardness of having to book flights that only connect at night, Eve returns to Adam’s side. Her suitcases are stuffed with nothing but books.

A densely rich, at once playful and melancholic film, the pace will be unbearably slow for some. Nothing really happens as plot points come and go. The late addition of the fantastic Mia Wasikowska causes some trouble that appears to set up hazardous consequences and then flat out doesn’t. To be frank, it’s like one enormous tease, and it’s quite exhilarating.

There’s an undeniable zing that crackles mischievously between Swinton and Hiddleston. Their wry disdain for the everyday zombies is made clear, though they clearly hold in higher regard our musical and literary heroes. Theirs is a whirlwind of cultural name-dropping that will either amuse or irritate, depending on your inclinations.

I found this wickedly fun, with an incredible focus on character and lavishly detailed production values perfectly accompanying the shadowy but never dull cinematography of the wildly talented Yorick Le Saux and Jozef van Wissem’s score. Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive is certainly an acquired taste, but Swinton and Hiddleston are too delicious to resist.”

Jake Wilson for the Sydney Morning Herald says: “Only Lovers Left Alive is not remotely a horror movie: it’s more like a guide to the art of living, or at least of being undead. Hundreds of years old – perhaps thousands, in Eve’s case – Adam and Eve are seen as the ultimate rock’n’roll couple, what art school kids want to grow up to be.” (2.5 Stars)

Time Magazine says: “The wry comedy is filigree work around this romantic tale of two souls who share the purest, deepest, sexiest, most affectionate love of any twosome in modern movies. They swan through the film like ancient rock royalty, gracing discos and jetting to exotic locations. Adam is an immortal flirting with suicide (he needs a wooden bullet), while Eve is attuned to the changing of the seasons (so many in her time on earth). But this aging couple is in total emotional and devotional synch. They evoke such classic tandems as Nick and Nora, Noël and Gertie and Gomez and Morticia, with a little Sid and Nancy for spice”

Only Lovers Left Alive is in cinemas nationally on April 17.