Only Lovers Left Alive

Sexy... kinda.

Films first screened at the Cannes Film Festival need no taglines, that's for those tacky plebes making movies all about boobs and explosions! I guess! Anyway, today I'm going to be talking about Only Lovers Left Alive, a film about how depressed and gothy Tom Hiddleston is. Okay so it isn't really ABOUT that, but it does kind of come into play at points. I'm talking of course about Only Lovers Left Alive, a 2013 film that is just now seeing circulation here. This film is a moody, languid, romance story about two very old vampires, Adam (Tom Hiddleston, aka every 13 year old girl's boyfriend Loki) and without a hint of irony his wife Eve (Tilda Swinton, who I just can never get over how weird she is seriously she weirds me out big time). The two live separetely, with Eve in Tangier and Adam living on the outskirts of Detroit as a reclusive musician, with little contact to the outside world. This works for him just fine, as Adam sports a growing disgust for the human world at large, thanks mostly to what he refers to at one point as their "fear of their own imaginations." Over the centuries Adam has been influential in the lives of many scientists and engineers, and is especially bitter about the way the great minds of past generations were marginalized and destroyed. Adam's house is powered by a device he created from parts of various Tesla inventions, and so he is an island in the way that I've heard no man is. Of course even island guys need to head inland sometimes, and so Adam deals with rock scene kid Ian (Anton Yelchin), paying him to run various errands and to find him rare and vintage musical instruments, among other things (like a wooden bullet he considers using to kill himself).

Rocker, or a pirate? you decide.
So as you probably gathered from that, Adam is a smart, decent guy, but he isn't a lot of fun to hang out with. I guess that's understandable when you are, at the very least something like 700 years old. Watching people be assholes for that span of time is probably really tiring, and so Adam's self-imposed exile is reasonable at the very least. He survives off blood he buys from a doctor at a local hospital, as tainted blood is apparently a serious issue in the modern age for vampires. So Adam is living this tidy, more or less depressing existence as an 80s goth musician's wet dream, and thinking about killing himself with the very special bullet he had made. He doesn't do that though, and Eve decides to travel to his home because she's worried that he's gonna do something rash, which admittedly he's considering. I'm not clear on why they were about a world apart, but we can assume that after hundreds of years maybe you sometimes need alone time. Stuff seems swell until Eve's crazy awful Mia Wasikowska portrayed sister Ava shows up, and is an incredibly annoying nuisance. I would say she's typecast but I'm not sure what the type is. Characters I hate in independent films I guess, is that technically a type? I'm declaring it is.

How to Look Exactly Like a Vampire in a Nightclub: a Guide.
Anyway, Ava shows up like an obnoxious and juvenile chore, and is around for like ten minutes before like a Drowning Pool music video the bodies start to hit the floor. This leads to a shakeup in Adam's life for sure, and sets off a course of events that could be politely referred to as "unfortunate". I don't want to summarize the whole plot, but really the plot is neither elaborate nor really the center-most part of the film. This is really a character drama about Adam and Eve, and the rest of the characters serve to reveal things about those two (though I have to say that I felt like I didn't have as good an understanding of Eve as I might have liked). It's a little bit elusive, trying to pin down exactly what combination of elements made this film work for me, but in the end I can say that I did find it to be an enjoyable experience. The movie is slow-paced, and understated, but I guess sometimes it can be nice to have slow and understated, when many movies (and certainly plenty of the movies I have seen lately) are high speed and high stress, putting a premium on action rather than reflection. When a movie comes along that can sell you on a sort of introspection and also almost entirely by the quality of its atmosphere, I think that's something worth talking about. It was also nice to see Tom Hiddleston in a movie where he wasn't a scheming, manipulative prick. Separating him out from the internet for a few minutes helped me to appreciate that he is a talented guy, even if I'm not 100% sure I'm going to buy you trying to tell me about how hot he is SORRY INTERNET.

Actually acting like a vampire for a moment.
For a movie where relatively little happens, this movie has a surprisingly long run time (something just shy of two hours) but I didn't really notice the length of the film until I checked it later. As a whole it looks good, has a fittingly brooding and atmospheric soundtrack, and was accomplished on a relatively modest budget. If you like Hiddleston or Swinton this movie is a no brainer, but even if you don't I say give this one a shot, just to see if you can get into it. I didn't expect to but found it surprisingly enjoyable. That's it for now, join me again next week, will I be able to find a theater in this state playing Snowpiercer? I doubt it!

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