Monday, 3 March 2014

Who'd want to be a vampire? Only Lovers Left Alive review

Once upon a time, vampires were feared. From Bram Stoker's to Nosferatu to Christopher Lee's Hammer turn, vampire's were depicted as creatures that would suck your essence out of you, and if you were unlucky, condemn you to an eternity blood addiction and hatred for humanity.

Nowadays, it seems all the rage to be a vampire. From the recent Twilight quadrilogy to Jim Jarmusch's new film Only Lovers Left Alive, vampires are depicted as the good guys, the protagonists. And seen from the Jarmusch's perspective, who wouldn't want to be a vampire. You get to retain your youthful looks, live for (potentially) eternity, read a lot, reinvent yourself, know the truth about past events, know about future events, and especially distinctive for Only Lovers Left Alive, you have no enemies. There's no garlic, no stakes; you've just got to keep out of the sun and make sure you don't get so depressed to kill yourself with a wooden bullet. Vampires are starting to encompass a strange parallel with celebrity; the hedonism, the visual youth, and if you're lucky, you'll stick around in the popular imagination for a long time. Who doesn't want to be a celebrity, right?

Only Lovers Left Alive presents vampires in their most normalised state yet. There is nothing distinctly evil about them. They only attack humans when they really have to (or are selfish enough to do so), and get most of their blood from hospitals. They spend their time maintaining a low profile and long term relationships. They view humans with content (calling them "zombies"), but enjoy the fruits of our imagination and intelligence. Any more lackadaisical and these vampires would be in trouble of just looking like hipsters that drink suspiciously thick merlot.

While the stereotyping of many early vampire films are being exchanged for these complex roles, I still yearn for stories where these vampires are to be feared. Reading Bram Stoker's original book, Dracula, the villain is always the other. You never quite get to know him properly, he is always talked about but rarely seen. He is a mixture of gracious, mysterious and scary. Vampire's may look human, but you've always got to remind yourself that they are not. That's how I like my vampire's.

Why not listen to our podcast review of Only Lovers Left Alive to hear what we think of the rest of the film. You can listen to it via the player below or you can subscribe through iTunes.


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