January 6, 2015

Only Lovers Left Alive

Jim Jarmusch, 2014
Two vampires reunite after years apart from each other to complain about their frustrations with the modern world and how uncivilized the human race has become.

Jarmusch creates the kind of movies that people want to say they liked. But Only Lovers is a perfect example of an intellectual filmmaker making an awfully dull movie. Maybe he was in his own head too much. Maybe he was trying to hard to make a carve out a niche in an already exhausted genre. But even the story didn't feel all that fresh, either. Maybe the angst-ridden vampire stories are better left for Anne Rice. Jarmusch did do a couple of things right. Shooting in Detroit to take advantage of the dystopian landscape is a good idea, might as well make use of America's dying city and make a subtle message about the actual state of our American culture at the same time. It's no mistake that they juxtapose dying Detroit and culture-rich Tangier. Casting Swinton and Hiddleston is certainly a good idea. But instead of letting Swinton breathe he follows her on exhaustingly long shots through Middle Eastern alleyways. Instead of letting Hiddleston breathe he turns him into a virtually mute emo-rocker, like a junkie who can't seem to get the right score in his hands. And of course that's the point, two vampires completely dissatisfied with the state of the world. All of the culture, the art, the creativity has died off giving way to a toxic race that they call "zombies". Maybe Lovers needed actual zombies to make it more interesting. Only Lovers feels like work while watching it. You get a feeling that you were bit in the neck in the opening credits and slowly bleed out during the remainder of the film, sort of falling into a lightheaded daze. There should be a disclaimer that you need 3 Venti's before viewing. Don't watch this one after a couple glasses of wine. The Blade franchise is more engaging, as strange as it feels to say that. Only Lovers can be placed somewhere in the middle of the Twilight franchise and the much better Interview with a Vampire

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