3 Things That Make "The Only Lovers Left Alive" The Perfect Indie Film

Cheap Tuesdays are a great time to enjoy the cinema. Tonight, I caught acclaimed indie director Jim Jarmusch's newest: The Only Lovers Left Alive. With a wonderful cast and hypnotizing soundtrack, this vampire tale is a prime example of a film that has all the right ingredients.



The following are my Top 3 reasons this film was so special:

1. Soundtrack & Cinematography & Art Direction
OK, I know that #1 is really three things but I want to make the list short!

That first opening shot with the two lovers, each revelling in their existence and the power of music was hypnotizing. The blend of the needle hitting the record, melting into their ethereal faces set the tone for a visual odyssey.

Match this with the selected soundtrack of classical, neo-rock/grunge, Eastern lilts and the lighter moments of the oldies really made the film a stunning montage of two lovers' very long lives.

And don't get me started on the art direction! The night is its own character as the story unfolds in a bustling and isolated Morocco, and of all places, Detroit. Two places that can be believably haunted by vampires. Then the costuming: the play of light and dark on Adam and Eve, the tattered fur of Ava really brings out the 'LA' in her. Also, don't forget the sunglasses. Since when were vampires such rockstars?

2. Cast
I cannot think of a better cast for this film. Tilda Swinton is a magnificent actress who embodies every role, once she becomes a character there is no one else better fit for it. She is both angelic and alien, dangerous and lovely, mother and sinner.

Then there is Tom Hiddleston, one of the finest theatre actors of our time. Usually when an actor has a big caliber film like Thor under his belt you cannot forget their superhero/villain persona - not the case with this actor! Hiddleston brings out eternal angst with such grace, he is sexy, endearing and laughable. The two leads were meant for these roles. Their chemistry is perfect and they are definitely my favourite vampire couple (ahem, Twilight).

Special note to the supporting cast because they were all perfect, I cannot praise a cast more than I have for this film: Anton YelchinMia WasikowskaJohn Hurt and Jeffrey Wright.

3. Never takes itself too seriously
When you hear 'indie vampire' film, you usually think of something way too self-indulgent or don't even bother because you've seen it all before.

Let The Only Lovers Left Alive rid you of those notions! With enough smart humour and witty, well deserved laughs, this film will surprise you. Literary fans will enjoy this immensely as there are tons of easter eggs with nods/jabs to various literary heroes. There are moments where the seriousness and angst of these vampires are played upon; the nuclear family they attempt, the packing of their belongings and the hiding of a dead body. Also, enjoy seeing Detroit in its current state,  a filmmaker has never made better use of a city.

Great writing and direction as this film is not a comedy but it's not a drama either, though it's not without its emotional moments. This is definitely something special, an instant cult classic!

Well, those are my three takeaways from Jarmusch's latest. If you're into independent films and are looking for something with wit, style and substance, you've found it.


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