DVD & Blu-ray Reviews

Only Lovers Left Alive, Blu-ray (2014)

A laid back super-cool vampire love story.

Published on August 14, 2014

Only Lovers Left Alive, Blu-ray (2014)

Only Lovers Left Alive, Blu-ray (2014)

Cast: Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston, Mia Washikowska, John Hurt
Director: Jim Jarmusch
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Ent. 44078 [8/19/14]
Video: 2.40:1 anamorphic/enhanced for 16:9 1080p HD color
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1, Dolby TruHD 5.1, DD 2.0 with narration
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French
Extras: “Traveling at Night with Jim Jarmusch,” Deleted and extended scenes, Yasmine Hamden music video
Length: 123 minutes
Rating: ****1/2

This is my first Jarmusch film and though I expected to dislike it, I found that once I got into it’s relaxed, slow-moving and rather arch style I enjoyed it. He’s to be praised for coming up with this unusual vampire story, without the silly teenage stuff, and have such top actors on the screen. The title is a bit misleading; everybody else on the earth doesn’t die. Swinton makes a cool vampire.

In fact, these two centuries-old married vampires don’t even kill people for their blood anymore. Adam goes into hospital poorly disguised as a doctor and purchases blood from a worker there, which they drink with relish from wine glasses.  Sensing that her husband is in a despairing mood about how the world is turning out, Eve, who has been living in Tangiers, flies back to her husband in Detroit.  He lives in a seemingly abandoned old house outside of the city and likes the decrepit burned-out surroundings there, wanting to be a recluse, creating his rock music (in the 19th century he was a classical performer-composer) and playing his collectors’ guitars, which are brought to him by his faithful “zombie” Ian. [I don’t want to have anything to do with zombie movies, though I’ll usually try a good vampire movie.]  But it turns out Adam is just referring to the non-vampires of the night who do his bidding or bother him, not to real zombies.

He even pays Ian to get him a wooden bullet so he can shoot himself in the heart. Eve picks up on this and with her more up personality and curiosity about everything in the world manages to pull Adam out of his stupor (one thing she tries is blood popsicles). Then things are overturned by a sudden visit from Eve’s younger sister, who hasn’t learned how to control her vampire wildness and comes to them from LA, where she was surrounded by “zombies.” They convince Adam to go out to a music club and Eve comes on to Ian. The older vampire couple innocently leave them alone together and soon the sister his killed Ian for his blood because they didn’t want to share much of their blood supply with her. They kick her out and return to Tangiers. Have to stop here or next will be a spoiler. I would classify this one as on the level of another individual take on vampires, The Hunger, with David Bowie and Catherine Deneuve.

I’m surprised the Blu-ray version of this is a few cents cheaper at Amazon than the DVD version…

—John Sunier




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