Offbeat Movies

I love movies that are quirky and well made and well acted. Here you will find reviews of movies you may not have heard of (I will try to avoid commercial successes, but some of them are good) that caught my attention because they are thought-provoking, have interesting story lines, unique characters, and good acting.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Only Lovers Left Alive

If age brings wisdom, what would happen if you lived for centuries? What kind of a library could you amass? How well could you hone your creative skills, like writing or composing music?

Only Lovers Left Alive explores the question: what makes life worth living? Vampires Eve (Tilda Swinton) and Adam (John Hiddlestone) have different answers to that question. Eve’s diet might be limited to blood, but she is an intellectual omnivore. The secret of Eve’s longevity is her curiosity, and her ability to see the beauty in everything. Eve is white-haired, dresses in light colors and lives in a city of close, white-stuccoed buildings. Adam is “romantically suicidal,” an artist who wants his music to be played, but can't risk being in the limelight. He dresses in black and drives aimlessly around the “wilderness” of a decaying and abandoned Detroit. Opposites attract. Sorrow needs joy, and day needs night. Adam and Eve’s love spans centuries and continents.

The vampires in this movie are the antithesis of Dracula. They don’t revel in death and debauchery; they don’t want melodrama (especially in the person of Eve’s little sister Ava [Mia Wasikowska]). They want to live quiet and anonymous lives, Eve with her books, and Adam with his music. Blood, at its best, is a drug; at its most basic it is necessary sustenance. It is not obtained by stalking scantily clad virgins. Adam’s and Eve’s sources are more circumspect than going to the grocery store, but not much more exciting.

But, as in the lives of mere mortals, shit happens, and hard decisions have to be made in the interest of survival.

Only Lovers Left Alive is an atmospheric movie, rich with visual details and a moody soundtrack. Eve’s home in Tangiers is full of books and tapestries and beautifully embroidered robes; Adam’s house in Detroit is cluttered with a marriage of antiques and electronics, rare and beautiful musical instruments and kick-ass sound equipment. Both are the kind of place you want to explore, like an exotic market or an antique shop.

In the middle of this richness is a strikingly stark image of the lovers, naked and asleep, their bodies white against black satin sheets. What does that image mean? I will leave that up to you.

Note: I am deducting half a star for the cheesy font used for the title.


Buy this movie

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