Boredom has a new name: Only
Lovers Left Alive. I find this distressing because, on the face of it, the
film is original and intriguing: Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston play vampires
who have been married for centuries. While they are passionately devoted to one
another they live in different parts of the world, for reasons unexplained: he
in an isolated house in burnt-out Detroit, she in an apartment in Tangier. While
these two gifted actors do everything they can to make their characters come to
life (pun intended), their travails—when separated or reunited—don’t add up to
the proverbial hill of beans.
Devotees of writer-director Jim Jarmusch may disagree with me, as will others who find the mere setup of the film modish enough to satisfy them. I certainly savored Marco Bittner Rosner’s stylish production design and enjoyed the supporting performances of Anton Yelchin (as Hiddleston’s connection for acquiring vintage guitars), Mia Wasikowska (as Swinton’s impulsive kid sister), and John Hurt (as the couple’s old friend, and purveyor of “pure” blood, Christopher Marlowe).
But the film’s languorous approach literally tired me out. Even defenders of the picture will have to admit it doesn’t have much story to tell. It may seek to address the notion of eternal love but it is also about ennui, and I found myself succumbing to a series of yawns.
I’m tempted to pun again and call the movie bloodless. In fact, I will.