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Sundance Review: Only Lovers Left Alive

Score:B

Director:Jim Jarmusch

Cast:Tom Hiddleston, Tilda Swinton, Anton Yelchin, Mia Wasikowska

Running Time:123 Minutes

Rated:R

When one thinks of the poster boy for independent film, a few names come to mind, but no one can beat the minimalistic tone and mood quite like writer/director Jim Jarmusch.

In classic Jarmusch fashion, the traditional vampire story gets turned on its head as he creates another unforgettable story, this time about vampires and everlasting love. Only Lovers Left Alive tells the story of married vampires, Adam (Tom Hiddleston) and Eve (Tilda Swinton) who reunite after centuries apart.

Only Lovers Left Alive begins with Adam, a reclusive and very calculated musician now living in Detroit, who collects vintage guitars with the help of his "zombie" human friend Ian (Anton Yelchin). He is missing his wife, Eve, who is now living in Tangier.  As his disgust of society increases, he yearns to be reunited with the only thing that can restore some balance in his life"”his wife. Soon after, Eve catches a flight to Detroit, and their love is rekindled.

On screen, you can feel the chemistry between Swinton and Hiddleston; they bring a sense of urgency to their relationship, wanting to be left alone so they can properly revive their love for one another.  Their privacy is disrupted by Ava, Eve's sister played by Mia Wasikowska.  She, unlike Adam and Eve, is young, immature, and reckless.  So much so, Hiddleston begins to despise her presence.

Overall, the story moves at a snail's pace, but it fits the mood of the film so well that I didn't find it distracting. In addition, the film has no central plot; instead Jarmusch uses imagery and feeling to bring his characters to life, which will not appeal to everyone, but Jarmusch has never been worried about that sort of thing.

Only Lovers Left Alive is a feast for the eyes, but you won't leave the theater thinking it's the next Citizen Kane.  If you are unfamiliar with Jarmusch, I would proceed with caution. For those that know and love Jarmusch's work, sink your teeth into this, who knows you may enjoy it.

*This film was covered as part of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.

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About Matt Kerwin

Matt Kerwin

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