What would you do if you had forever to live? How would you spend your time? Would you still have the same passion after hundreds if not thousands of years? This is what this indie vampire flick addresses. Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton are match made in Heaven, or wherever the heck vampires came from. The setting is current day and Adam and Eve (Yes, that is their awesome names) have been living in different parts of the globe. Adam has been living in Detroit, immersing himself in the music scene anomalously, all the while as he darkly contemplates the merits of life. Eve lives in Tangier and hangs out with another vampire who's identity is too fun to reveal at this point, as she passionately devours literature at an insane rate. The two leads remain a close couple, but the distance is getting between them. They need some time together to consummate their love and further explore their relationship. This is what propels any plot this film does have.
The most frustrating part of the film is what gives the film's unique flavor – there is no story. I can't believe I am comparing Napoleon Dynamite to this film (Now he would have been an awesome vampire!!!), but if you've seen the film you probably know the lackadaisical pace I am talking about. Things happen, but there is no real story. In Napoleon Dynamite this could have been an irredeemable flaw, but the film is freaking entertaining. Only Lovers Left Alive is also laid back, so much so that it becomes apparently posh and hipster immediately. The real question is whether this film is a worthy form of art or entertainment.
If there is any art or entertainment it is shown from the two leads. Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton, whether it would appear like it or not, are perfect for each other. Their dialogue and subtle interactions between them have the feel of exactly what the film is going for: a seasoned couple. There is something pure and special about a relationship that has stood the test of time. They no longer need to see each other on a consistent basis, but any one on one time that do have with each other is cherished.
The music and cinematography are also to be admired. The warm lighting in the night fueled by the yearning and weary music compliment each other in such a way that could at first feel condescendingly artsy and dark to the happier soul, but there is more there. These characters and their environment are noire by nature (à la they can't go out in the daylight), and how they act is a natural embodiment of this. It might feel like the film takes itself too seriously and is a bit self indulgent, but any self deprecating humor used in Only Lovers Left Alive dispels this notion immediately.
When it comes to flaws there is obviously no story, or little of it if there is any, and this is rebellious. This rebelling of structure could feed into the overall feel of the film, but in the end it feels cheap. Many can provide an interesting context and premise, but it is the story that makes things great. Film, after all, is very much the art of story telling. Without, we naturally can wonder what was the point. The second and smallest flaw is how the dialogue is presented primarily in the beginning chapter can feel overly like exposition and become too simple. Though, to be fair, the dialogue in the latter parts of the film can be quite brilliant and entertaining.
If I could make anything clear about this film, I would say that it is not for everyone. Yes, I know this can sound cliché, but it is true! This film is more lackadaisical and languid than many movies you will ever cross. Though, if you are into the whole idea of living "forever" and all the implications that entails; and if you appreciate brilliant performances from top notch actors, you may enjoy this film. To put it in another way, if you are tired of the whole vampire genre, but still are thirsty for some fresh blood this film may just satisfy your fix.
Personal Preference: 3.75/5
How Well It Was Made: 4/5