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Only Lovers Left Alive Review: Dry Like the Settings

Only Lovers Left Alive


From the sets, to the lighting to the camera moment, to the music, and to the general atmosphere; Jim Jarmusch full immerses the audience in the minds of his two protagonists Adam and Eve (Vampires who have have personally experience quite a bit of artistic and scientific history). The audience feels their bore fascination with the crumbling world around the (at least the life that used to exist in it. Jarmusch fully draws the audience into his story in the initial sequence, which can leave audience member prone to motion sickness feeling a little, well motion sick but completely fascinated with the screen at the same time.
Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton’s dry delivery provides a hysterical contrast to the classical poetic style of their worlds. They both give Oscar worthy performances (as does John Hurt as a four plus centuries old Christopher Marlowe) and Jim Jarmusch deserves and Oscar for his writing (the script provides the audience with just the right amount of exposition to piece together the puzzle. It gives people who have to actively seek out this film to see it credit for having some intelligence) and directing, but this film is unlikely to have the necessary politicking behind it. Jeffrey Wright and Anton Yelchin certainly deserve credit for their small, but relevant parts. Their modern slang dialogue and mannerisms provide an entertaining contrast to the classically inclined Adam and Eve. Mia Wasikowska is also great as Eve’s intrusive “sister.”
There is plenty of commentary on the apathy of modern human society embedded throughout the film. Adam and Eve discuss the percentage of water in the human body and the surface of the earth noting that humans (zombies as Adam calls them, another continual commentary in the film) have yet to figure out that it is more important than oil. At one point, Adam takes Eve to several abandoned historic sites. Those sites were once very much alive, but are dead and decaying from neglect. Adam refuses to rely too much on modern technology. He uses his knowledge of science to build a generator to power his isolated home (which seems to be a clever way of having to put thinks like electric bills in his name).
This writer will most likely pre-order the film on DVD because Blu-ray is just too digital (even though Jarmusch had to shoot this film with a digital camera, the cinematography almost made it feel like it was shot on film.) Even though the pacing is measured, the film is never boring; it’s mesmerizing from the first frame to the last. Too bad it only played in Dayton for one week.