Thursday, November 06, 2014

"Only Lovers Left Alive": vampires can't save everybody

Only Lovers Left Alive”, by Jim Jarmusch, was a hit with some people last spring, but to me it seemed like an extended set piece, with the vampirism rather in the background.
One could say this is an “Adam and Eve” story, modern day.  The primordial couple reconciles.  “Ada” (Tom Hiddleston) is a has-been rock musician, now pretty much living underground, and saying he is disenchanted with the moral decay of society.  I thought for a moment about the Christopher Waltz character in “The Zero Theorem” (Sept. 23).  Here, Adam’s own world is rather like something in a Gilliam movie, but perhaps more confining, even if he has become quite proficient in his own technology toys, with the help of Ian (Russian born Anton Yelchin, who looks a bit more appealing than Adam).  He tries to reunite with his centuries-long lover Eve (Tilda Swinton).  But Eve’s sister Ava (Mia Waskikowska) has ideas of disrupting them, flying in segments all the way to Detroit, where Adam has resettled as an urban pioneer.  In the few outdoor scenes, you expect to see Anthony Bourdain pop up ask “What happened here”, in what had once been the Rome of the American Midwest.  

Ian must not be among the privileged, as he dies when Ava attacks him and he bleeds out.  The couple then “escapes” to Tangier.  Their long time mentor Marlowe (John Hurt) is also no longer among the immortal.  At the end, Adam and Eve prepare to descend upon an attractive young couple.   But if they are lovers, maybe they will become immortal after all. 

The film uses Jarmusch’s rock band called “SQURL”. 
The official site is here  (Sony Pictures Classics).  Besides Detroit and Tangier, the film used resources in New York, Germany and the UK. The movie doesn't seem to be related much to the 1964 novel of that name by Davet Wallis. 
My own choice for vampire movies would be “Interview with a Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles” (1994), based on Anne Rice, by Neil Jordan, from Geffen Pictures (and WB), with Brad Pitt and Christian Slater.  That was a real “gay love story” of sorts.  
Picture:  MGM in Detroit, my visit, 2012. 

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