Monday, February 15, 2016

Mini movie review: Only Lovers Left Alive

I don't think I've ever seen a Jim Jarmusch film before so I can't speak to how Only Lovers Left Alive stacks up against the rest of his library.  But I can say that if you were looking for a romantic movie to watch on Valentine's Day (before diving into the misery that is The Walking Dead (recap coming soon)), this was a good one.  More atmospheric than plot-driven, OLLA follows Adam and Eve, two super-cool, effortlessly chic vampires, still completely in love with each other after centuries of marriage.  Eve, played with alien elegance by the otherworldly Tilda Swinton, is living in Tangiers when the movie begins, in a flat filled with ancient books and beautiful fabrics.  She occasionally socializes with her dear old friend, Christopher Marlowe (John Hurt), who is still writing five centuries later and is still indignant about William Shakespeare's fame.  Her husband Adam (Tom Hiddleston), however, is hiding out in a decaying mansion in a decaying Detroit, collecting beautiful, rare guitars and making beautiful, melancholy music.

As I mentioned above, there's not much plot: Eve goes to Detroit to visit Adam; her little "sister" - at most, Eve says, they are related "by blood" - Ava (Mia Wasikowska) shows up and wrecks some slight havoc; Adam and Eve return to Tangiers.  Usually I like a lot of plot in my movies.  But this moody, funny movie is wonderful.  Yes, Adam and Eve are vampires and they do drink blood, but they drink it out of tiny cordial glasses, getting stoned off each sip.  What these creatures of the night are about is culture through the ages - science, literature, music, art.  They listen to vinyl and play chess, there are stacks of leather-bound books everywhere.  Adam and Eve are deeply in love with each other and, as much as Adam might bitch about how the "zombies" (humans) are ruining the planet, they are still in love with the fact that art is still being created in the world.

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