So in sum, Only Loversis (to echo Adam’s disaffected declaration) something of a drag. Starved of actual aesthetic rewards, then, let’s turn to one of the film’s more interesting, though still underdeveloped, undercurrents: the fluid nature of authorship, which stands in intriguing contrast to Jarmusch’s totemic brandishing of iconic names. “Why don’t you let on?” Eve chides Marlowe early on, urging him to own up to his penning of the Shakespeare canon, “It would cause such delicious chaos.” “I think the world has enough chaos right now,” replies Kit—and later, mirroring Adam’s rationale for apparently “giving” Schubert the adagio for one of his symphonies, he will concur that “getting the work out there,” attached names aside, is the most important thing.
Through equal parts design and conceptual confusion, Jarmusch sets up his vampiric protagonists as both the secret source of some of our culture’s greatest accomplishments and admiring, discerning critics of the best that we have attained, both participants and observers. And as they disclaim any truth as to their origins in their cheekily adopted monikers (Adam also travels as “Dr. Faust” while clandestinely infiltrating the hospital in scrubs and surgical mask, and Wright’s “Dr. Watson” refers to him subsequently, and unfunnily, as “Dr. Strangelove” and “Dr. Caligari”), it is the work itself which stands—whether the music that Adam creates in his solitary studio, or Eve’s readings from Marlowe on the soundtrack, or the onscreen performances that Jarmusch refuses to interrupt. Even as he is a distinctive artist in himself, Jarmusch has consistently demonstrated in his work an eagerness to incorporate the work and the culture of others—not to appropriate it, exploit it, or extrinsically augment his own work by it, but to admiringly display it, to make it available. If inOnly LoversJarmusch’s own art unfortunately falls flat, he at least consistently reminds us, within the very text of his films, that his is only one small facet of a vaster, shared artistic culture, and one that is very much alive.
This is a very good review, though the author didn’t like the movie. The movie itself might be a drag, but the little aspects that make up the whole movie are what makes it special. If you love them Only Lovers Left Alive is a gem otherwise it is boring. I truly loved and admired it, but I can totally understand this review.