Thursday, 21 January 2016
Only Lovers Left Alive (4 Stars)
A problem with almost all marriages is that with time the passion fades. When a couple first meet they can't wait to rip one another's clothes off. Then they get married and they need to have sex all the time. After a while the glamour begins to disappear. They see one another at their worst moments, when they're sick or in a bad mood. As they become older their bodies are no longer as aesthetically appealing. Sex is reserved for special occasions. When it gets to that point the marriage can go one of two ways. Either they split up and find new lovers to rekindle their passion, or they decide to stay together because they love one another. The second case doesn't mean that the original passion has been rediscovered, it means that the couple have decided that there's enough positive in one another to continue without passion.
This all happens over the course of 30 or 40 years, the length of a typical marriage till death us do part. Now imagine that the married couple are vampires who have been together for hundreds, maybe thousands of years. Despite the ability to stay forever young in appearance, the passion will be replaced by habit and routine.
In this film we see two vampires, Adam and Eve, played by Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton. They love one another, that's obvious, but the passion died centuries ago. Adam lives in Detroit recording rock music anonymously. Eve lives in Tangier reading books in the many languages she has mastered. When Eve visits Adam there's a friendly hug on the doorstep, but no welcoming kiss.
Things are shaken up when Eve's younger sister Ava hears that Eve is back in America and travels from Los Angeles to visit her. Ava (played by Mia Wasikowska) has managed to preserve the spirit of a rebellious teenager. Maybe it's because she was never married? She persuades Adam and Eve to go to a club and have some fun, but Adam ends up getting angry with Ava and makes them all leave early.
When I first watched the film in the cinema I gave it a bad rating. Click here for my review. I knew at the time I might like it more if I watched it again, and that's certainly the case. I criticised it in my first review for the lack of passion. Now that I've watched it again I can see that that's the whole point of the film. The passion is gone. The director, Jim Jarmusch, didn't want to make a horror film or a film in which vampires are glamorous and sexy. He wants to show that after centuries of existence life can get boring. The end result is bleak, but somehow alluring.
Tilda Swinton as a vampire. She's never looked so sexy!
Mia Wasikowska as a vampire. Do you think she would bite me if I asked nicely?
Tom Hiddleston as a vampire. He doesn't like to show his teeth in public.