I’ll be the first to admit that the vampire romance genre has grown tiresome for me. I used to be quite ravenous about the whole genre at one point in time. Twilight and True Blood both used to rule my universe (not so much these days). It seems that nowadays, that genre is all about love triangles and angst filled rage as vampires fall in love with humans and vice versa, and everything seems hopeless and bleak.
When I heard that yet another vampire romance was to hit the screens, I was very wary of wanting to go watch. Then I was told the two leads were Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston, and I was sold. I’ve been a fan of Tilda’s since I saw her as Gabriel in Constantine (her performance was the best thing about the film). As for Hiddleston, he had recently won me over as a fan after watching his delivery of one of Henry V‘s monologues on a talk show (his portrayal of Loki in The Avengers had yet to get to me until much later).
Only Lovers Left Alive definitely shows the world a different side to these actors. The film follows Hiddleston as Adam, a thoroughly morose vampire who has had it with the world of the living. Adam has become a reclusive musician and is now convinced that humanity is doomed, continually referring to humans as “zombies”. Despite his reclusive nature, he is immensely wealthy and remains a popular musician. He contemplates suicide but a video phone call from his wife, Eve (Swinton), convinces him not to go through with his plans.
Eve has spent the past several years living in Tangier. Fearing for Adam’s life, she flies to Detroit. The lovers reunite and are content enjoying each others’ company, eating blood popsicles, playing chess, dancing to music at home, and driving around the city at night.
It is in these scenes where the two actors shine the most, Hiddleston in particular. We have become so accustomed to watching both Swinton and Hiddleston in very serious roles that it was both very refreshing and rewarding to watch the pair of them be so free and fun in morbid sense. You could practically see the light radiating from their eyes in those scenes.
Then, a short time later, Eve’s younger sister, Ava (played by Mia Wasikowksa), arrives from Los Angeles and shatters the couple’s idyllic seclusion. While I didn’t particularly enjoyed Wasikowska’s character, I did thrive off the banter between Ava and Adam. They seem to want to one up one another as Adam truly despises Ava and is quick to cut her down to size. Hiddleston excels with his deadpan delivery of the insults in these scenes.
Only Lovers Left Alive definitely should be on everyone’s must watch list for this year as it is far from the norm of the usual vampire genre offerings. With its darkened tones contrasting the ultimate lesson that love is really the only thing you can count on these days, the cast and crew of the film really make it a point to the audience that this is a vampire romance film geared for adults, one that finally stays away from the human – vampire love connection that is currently plaguing the genre.
After all, in this film, the vampires don’t sparkle, definitely better for all in the end.
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