Only Lovers Left Alive – film review

Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston are aeons-old vampires in Only Lovers Left Alive. Jim Jarmusch, the sage and mage of American independent cinema, last made the The Limits of Control, a piece of brilliant allegorical inventiveness about art and perception. Almost everyone hated it. Many people love this new movie, which struck me as etiolated twaddle.

How does love conduct itself which has survived hundreds, even thousands of years? Like many a Darby and Joan marathon on this evidence. The partners have consensual musing times alone, represented here by different cities (Detroit for him, Tangier initially for her), then come together for interludes of warmth, exchange, reminiscence. Afternoon tea; afternoon blood; a few old records.

Hiddleston is a singer and tiresomely loquacious guitar connoisseur. Swinton, looking good in big ash-blonde hair, chews the dialogue with more relish but still cannot get many nutriments. Mia Wasikowska overstays as Tilda’s difficult sister. And John Hurt plays Christopher Marlowe. Why? Who knows. There’s a reference to Doctor Faustus. Is that a clue? If you think so, there are also references to Lord Byron, Oscar Wilde, Mark Twain and Buster Keaton. Commence deconstruction.

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