Only Lovers Left Alive | Film Reviews | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Only Lovers Left Alive 

A lovely, funny meditation on art and immortality

Pin It
Favorite
Only Lovers Left Alive
  • Only Lovers Left Alive

“I don’t have heroes,” insists Adam (Tom Hiddleston), a centuries-old vampire, to his equally eternal lover, Eve (Tilda Swinton). As Jim Jarmusch’s wonderfully sublime Only Lovers Left Alive plays out, however, it becomes clear that he’s not being entirely honest. Because once we see Adam’s photo wall adorned with legendary musicians, writers and actors, we know that there’s one thing that gives his drawn-out existence any jolt of life.

It seems like even that may not be enough as the narrative opens, with Adam living alone in Detroit and Eve similarly so in Tangier. Adam seems at last to be on the verge of existential despair—he even bought a custom-made wooden bullet for his revolver—so when Eve comes to Detroit to be with him, she has some re-energizing to do. And there are even more complications when Eve’s impetuous sister Ava (Mia Wasikowska) also arrives.

Jarmusch injects plenty of sly humor into his study of how vampires might exist in the modern world, including seeking out sources for quality blood that don’t involve gambling on a human victim who might be “unclean.” We get a sense for the way they fill their endless nights when they rattle off the accumulated trivia of dozens of lifetimes, like the Latin name of every living thing they encounter. And the possibility of falling into repetitive cycles is conveyed by introducing Adam and Eve through slow, lingering, revolving overhead shots.

But at its best, Lovers is a lovely, funny meditation on art and immortality—including making Eve’s blood-bank hookup in Tangier the 16th-century author Christopher Marlowe (John Hurt). Adam’s passion for music—hearing a beautiful new singing voice or a rare instrument are among the few things that can shake his melancholy—becomes part of a suggestion that it’s possible to keep finding beauty in new creations that give meaning to being alive. Or, you know, at least not dead.

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE

4_stars.gif

Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska
Rated R 

Twitter: @ScottRenshaw

Pin It
Favorite

Tags:

More by Scott Renshaw

  • Q&A: Alison Einerson

    Director of the Downtown Farmers Market at Pioneer Park since 2012.
    • Apr 19, 2017
  • Gray Area

    A great filmmaker shows off his non-showy stuff in The Lost City of Z.
    • Apr 19, 2017
  • Kid Stuff

    A lovely child performance anchors the satisfying family drama of Gifted.
    • Apr 12, 2017
  • More »

Latest in Film Reviews

  • Gray Area

    A great filmmaker shows off his non-showy stuff in The Lost City of Z.
    • Apr 19, 2017
  • Kid Stuff

    A lovely child performance anchors the satisfying family drama of Gifted.
    • Apr 12, 2017
  • Defusing Tension

    Every explosion is predictable in the post-WWII Danish drama Land of Mine.
    • Apr 5, 2017
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • Where Are the Women?

    A critic's year-long deep-dive into the way movies portray one half of humanity.
    • May 11, 2016
  • Beasts of One Notion

    Zootopia depends entirely on its well-intentioned allegory about prejudice.
    • Mar 2, 2016

© 2017 Salt Lake City Weekly

Website powered by Foundation