Director: Jim Jarmusch
Lovers Adam (Hiddleston) and Eve (Swinton) are vampires, who have been together for centuries. Unable to live together for eternity, they live on different sides of the Atlantic until either needs the other, when the pair reunite. While Adam has become a depressive in declining Detroit, housebound and surrounded by antique guitars, Eve lives in Tangiers with the vampyric Christopher Marlowe (Hurt), who reveals he was the true author of Shakespeare’s works. But as Marlowe and Adam have dreams of the return of her sister (Wasikowska), Eve travels to America to be reunited with her lover to prepare for her sibling’s reappearance, whose recklessness threatens to expose them all.
Most irritating of all is the feeling that the director is trying to SAY something with this film, but because it’s so bogged down with its own self-importance it’s difficult to work out exactly what that is. Is the whole thing a metaphor for depression? Is it a depiction of those people who can only exist at night, rotting away in their living rooms, unemployed and unable to work? It might be. Whatever its message, the film is a mess and drags along at a pace that wholly doesn’t warrant its painful two hour runtime.
How Jarmusch assembled this cast is baffling. While I enjoyed seeing John Hurt playing a vampire, you have to wonder if they all thought they were making a different film. Just as Nicolas Winding Refn’s Only God Forgives attracted its star cast but suffered from its director’s over-creative-control, this too feels like it could have done with a couple of studio execs looking over Jarmusch’s shoulder and just suggesting, or hinting, that MAYBE he should revisit the script, or MAYBE he should think about storyline. I do believe that directors should be given creative freedom, but everyone needs an editor sometimes. Hurt probably thought he was starring in a quasi-Interview With The Vampire. Instead he’s starred in a kitchen-sink drama with (blunt) teeth.
If you love vampires; if you’re an angsty teen; if you believe in the gravitas of rock music; if you feel that nobody understands you and you can only express yourself at night when everyone else is asleep – go and see this film. If you’re none of the above, steer well clear. Swinton clearly had fun, Hiddleston got to play an uncharismatic Loki, but Jarmusch makes us all realise why being a teenager locked in your bedroom was never fun, was never enjoyable and thus doesn’t transfer to make an enjoyable film. I gave Thor: The Dark World the same star rating, but while that was only to recognise its technical prowess, the two stars here are to recognise its artistry. For the sake of being entertained though, I’d much rather see Thor.