TIFF 2013: Only Lovers Left Alive – Capsule Review

Director:  Jim Jarmusch
Writers: Jim Jarmusch
Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Tilda Swinton, Mia Wasikowska
Runtime: 123 min
Rating: 14A

Jim Jarmusch returns to the big screen with the psychedelic Only Lovers Left Alive. Starring the incomparable Tilda Swinton and the coveted Tom Hiddleston, the film tells a story about vampires in modernity. Adam (Hiddleston) is a solitary and sluggish musician who wants nothing more than to buy expensive instruments and to be left alone by the fans that gather outside his shabby Detroit home. Eve (Swinton) is Adam’s wife living in far away Tangier with her best friend Christopher Marlowe (John Hurt). Eve flies to Detroit to stay with her husband, but the peaceful encounter is soon interrupted by her sister Ava (Mia Wasikowska), a troublesome and youthful vampire who serves as a plot device for the film’s resolution. With polished acting, Swinton, Hiddleston, and Wasikowska create charming characters very different from other vampires in popular media. The chemistry between Swinton and Hiddleston is a delightful surprise that provides authenticity to Adam and Eve’s relationship. The film is a reinvention of the vampire genre that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and it is very amusing to see the vampires using smart phones and being susceptible to blood poisoning. The film is clearly stamped with Jarmusch’s seal, and it has a highly stylized cinematography and use of sound.  The script is clever and simple, with many references to science, literature, and other forms of popular culture. Only Lovers Left Alive is a very entertaining watch, and will surely become a favourite for those who enjoy identifying the intertextual in film. Bright and fun, it is bound to become a crowd pleaser during this year’s festival.

Overall Score: 4.4/5

Photo Credit: Toronto International Film Festival