Only Lovers Left Alive

Only Lovers Left Alive is the downbeat story of Adam (Tom Hiddleston) and his wife Eve (Tilda Swinton), centuries old vampires with very different attitudes towards eternal life.  Eve is pragmatic and makes the most of her situation while Adam is a brooding, hermit, dangerously introspective and down-right depressed.  And that’s about it.  Nothing much really happens.  We don’t really learn much about the characters.  And there’s really not much reason to care about any of it.

At least it isn't Twilight

At least it isn’t Twilight

I’ll admit it does look good, it’s quite stylish and the soundtrack works well.  Hiddleston and Swinton have great chemistry, they seem very comfortable together and are believable as lovers.  John Hurt (one of my all time favourite actors) pops up as Christopher Marlowe,  which was fun, as was Mia Wasikowska’s turn as Eve’s badly behaved little sister.  Anton Yelchin of Star Trek (2009) fame (the kid played Chekov) was also enjoyable as Adam’s helper and link to the outside world.  Unfortunately, none of these actors are really given that much to do.

Only Lovers Left Alive was incredibly frustrating, irritatingly slow and disappointingly uneventful.  Each time it seemed the film was about to start, and something might happen… well, no.  Nothing did.  I found it hard work and it seemed longer than its 123 minute running time.  Reading some reviews since, it seems I’m in the minority because I didn’t really enjoy it and can’t recommend it.  Honestly, in spite of its good points, it just feels like time I’ll never get back.

Score: 5/10

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23 responses to “Only Lovers Left Alive

    • Thanks so much. It started well – the opening scenes and the music that perfectly accompanies them really got my hopes up – but there just wasn’t enough of a story.

  1. I haven’t actually watched this film yet, but I’m not definitely not excited about the prospect – which I find kinda surprising because it seems exactly the type of thing I go for! I love the look of it: dark and brooding, and the cast is great but it seems like that’s all there is. Shame, lots of promise but maybe all style no substance? 😦

    • Very much so. You’re right, the performances are very good but they’re just not given enough to work with. Especially not with a 123 minute running time.

  2. I can totally get why you might not like this, it’s definitely not for everyone. I enjoyed it but did find it too slow at times. I also wanted to know more about the characters. They seemed really interesting but we never really learnt much about them.

    • Yes, exactly! It seemed like Adam and Eve’s most interesting exploits were in years gone by and I was frustrated that this was hinted at but never really revealed.

  3. I haven’t seen this particular movie yet, but your experience is on Jarmusch flicks often have on viewers. They are always slow and contemplative, a fact that appeals to some folks but not to others.

    • It was my first experience of his films and if I’m honest I’m not queueing the others up on my watch list. That said, I can see it’s well done, it looks nice and the actors and performances are very good. It just didn’t grab me.

      • I would call that a fair reaction to Jarmusch. I actually had the same response to Drugstore Cowboy.

        If you ever do want to try another of his movies, consider Ghost Dog. It might be his most accessible.

  4. Jarmusch is really divisive, isn’t he. I haven’t seen this, but I saw a review on the BBC’s Film 2014 show that while wasn’t jumping with joy, still had positive things to say. I’ll tread with caution on this one now. Really interesting to get your take on it.

    • Thanks very much. I’ll be honest I haven’t seen his other films, and I try to avoid reading about anything I plan to see at the cinema as I like to make up my own mind.

      I don’t necessarily mind slow moving films, and I appreciate not being spoon-fed but I really wanted something interesting to happen, and it just didn’t. The film teases with hints of Adam and Eve’s exciting history together but we never see it.

      It isn’t a ‘bad’ film and I can see why some might like it, but it didn’t float my proverbial boat. I’ll be interested to see what you think.

  5. Ouch! This is definitely the least positive review I’ve seen so far! Lol. What a shame! I’m still curious about this one–my love of Tom Hiddleston compels me–but I’ll just keep your review in mind and try not to expect too much. Nice review, Laura!

    • Ah, thanks very much. To be fair, I’m not familiar with Jarmusch’s other films so perhaps my expectations were a little askew.

      Hiddleston doesn’t disappoint – he’s a very charismatic man and, let’s be honest, easy on the eye!

      I hope you enjoy it, I really wanted to like it more.

  6. I haven’t seem this one yet but I’m hoping to catch it before it leaves cinemas. I do like Tilda Swinton but it’s shame you say we don’t get to see much character development. Sorry to hear you didn’t really enjoy it – it seems like it might have split audiences.

  7. Sounds like the film missed out on a good opportunity. I still may try to catch this one but my expectations will be a tad lower. Thanks for the review!

  8. The film definitely wasn’t easy to watch – it was very mysterious but they achieved that by giving us so little information about the characters. I ended up liking it,but yeah it was very slow.

  9. Damn! Thought this looked kind of interesting but it sounds dullboring. (Lol – I love that word). Oh well – I’ll check it out on TV someday. : )

    • Well, it isn’t TERRIBLE I was just really frustrated that nothing really happened. That said, when the credits rolled my friend and I actually laughed out loud, as did the people behind us. Not because it was funny, there was a sort of tense, quiet moment and a disappointed exhalation of ‘is that it?!’.

  10. Pingback: Charlie Bartlett | filmnerdblog·

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