Movie review: Only Lovers Left Alive

Jim Jarmisch film, starring Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton.

This film is a languidly paced drama about a pair of old vampires, Adam and Eve. Despite the names there is not an indication that they are original vampires or anything like that. Maybe it is meant to indicate that they are meant to be together?

While watching the film, at times it felt infuriatingly slow. There are long drives through Detriot, conversations that don’t seem to go anywhere etc. After watching it, however, I like it more.

For one thing, the vampires mature – they don’t age in the sense that they deteriorate mentally or physically, but they gain experience, and knowledge. Adam knows how to play many instruments, and is said to be a musical genius (Although if you subscribe to the 10000 hours theory, what vampire couldn’t be a genius? They have loads of time to practice.) Eve is very literary, and their friend is Christopher Marlow – who in the film wrote all of Shakespeare’s works. And they stay in love. One of the issues I have with alot of vampire films and books is that the vampire is always attracted to a human that is 17 or 22 or whatever. I mean, if you are 200 years old, what would you talk about with a 17 year old? My explanation, to get over it, has been that vampirism is a metaphor for addiction, and the vampire stays the emotional age they were at the time they were turned. This film doesn’t do that, thankfully. And one gets the sense that they are not radically different than they were during their human life, but rather they have grown and developed. Become more themselves given the infinite amount of time they seem to have.

Visually, the film is just beautiful. The scene where Tom and Eve are asleep together, nude, looks like a painting I would hang on my wall.

The end of the film is the big pay off. If you let yourself be drawn into the world, accept the almost real time feeling of the pace, it is very much worth it. And it is a vampire film about love, change, sophistication that only Jim Jarmusch would make.

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Book Review: Killer of Enemies by Joseph Bruchac

This month is Native American History Month, and Bookriot had a list of novels aimed at a YA readership to think about reading this month.  So I looked at all of them, and used the handy library widget in Amazon to see which books my library has. Killer of Enemies was one.

A very brief synopsis: There has been an apocalypse of sorts in which electricity no longer works, which creates a huge disaster. In this world, there are people (the 1%) who are called “The Ones” who become leaders. (At least in the area where it takes place. No electricity-no phones etc) The rest are basically slaves. Lozen is a young woman of Apache dissent who is a very good killer. Some of the enemies are genetically modified animals, that can reproduce and are huge.

One of the things I really liked about this book was the world that is created. I could picture a lot of stories in different areas of this world happening, and I would want to read them all. It is pretty rare when reading a dystopian universe that it seems complete, and riveting.

I also enjoyed the way Native American myths and legends were woven into the plot, as well as the matter of fact spirituality which includes ancestor veneration. You are also shown rather than told how the religion works.

It is always nice to read a book where the ethnic variations are a matter of fact, and not LOOK I AM BEING DIVERSE. There is a character of Arab ancestry in the story (which is important as they are in the American Southwest.)

There are some misteps in the book that a good editor would have caught, and those almost took me out of the story (because I started thinking about them instead of being lost in the story.) The writing is somewhat choppy at times, and until the end, there didn’t seem to be a lot of character development for Lozen. The end however gives me hope that she will be more fully developed in the sequel.

I definitely recommend this as a fun, thought provoking book. There is some good commentary on how modern life is lived, a strong female lead and the way the Apache religion and traditions is woven in is nicely done. I will be reading the sequel (and apparently there is a prequel too.)