We here at Screen Relish love a good horror movie. So much so, we’ve decided every Saturday to bring you a retrospective look back at perhaps some of those genre entries that have been underrated, unfairly forgotten, missed and abandoned or just so damn good that we needed to scream it from the rooftops. Today’s title is…
Vampires again! Can’t we just give it a rest already?
I hear ya, but before you write them off completely, let ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE renew your faith in the genre’s possibilities.
Leave it to visionary writer/director Jim Jarmusch to concoct the perfect antidote to the pop culture onslaught of romantic teenage blood drinkers. OLLA is a delicious black comedy, oozing with sharp wit and hipster attitude.
Great lead performances don’t hurt, either, and Jarmusch gets them from Tom Hilddleston and Tilda Swinton as Adam and Eve (perfect!), a vampire couple rekindling their centuries-old romance against the picturesque backdrop of…Detroit.
I’m not going to lie, they had me at Swinton/Hiddleston/Jarmusch/vampires, but it’s such a treat to find the end result only exceeds expectations.
Not since the David Bowie/Catherine Deneuve pairing in THE HUNGER has there been such perfectly vampiric casting. Swinton and Hiddleston, already two of the most consistently excellent actors around, deliver cooly detached, underplayed performances, wearing the world- weariness of their characters in uniquely contrasting ways.
The less you know about the lifestyles of Adam and Eve, the better, and the plot consists mainly of consequences from a surprise visit by Eve’s sister Ava (Mia Wasikowska). But Jarmusch, as he often does, creates a setting that is totally engrossing, full of fluid beauty and wicked humor.
His camera lingers in dark corners and high ceilings, swimming in waves of sublime production design, evocative music and mood lighting that is subtle perfection. This is a master class in style and atmosphere, conjuring up a dark world you’re just geeked to spend time in.
There is substance to accent all the style. The film moseys toward its perfect finale, casually waxing Goth philosophic about soul mates and finding your joy.
Ironically, Jarmusch treats the possibility of nightwalkers among us more realistically than any vampire flick in recent memory. And in the process, has some wry fun with how the whole thing went south.
Talk about finding our joy.
Listen weekly to MaddWolf’s horror podcast FRIGHT CLUB. Do it!