Though not the best vampire film out there, remember the sub-genre still is in recovery thanks to all the young adult novel adaptations.
Review (with Spoilers)
After seeing Tom Hiddleston in Thor: The Dark World, I decided to consider myself a fan of his and track his career. Making this the first movie I sought out just because he was in it, though the addition of Mia Wasikowska, Anton Yelchin, and Jeffrey Wright surely didn’t hurt. And what I found after watching this film was a very odd sort of film in which the vampires hardly took themselves seriously, and in doing so presented a film which overall seemed, just ok.
Characters & Story
Adam (Tom Hiddleston), upon first meeting, seems like a drearier version of Lestat from the Queen of the Damned movie. He is a man highly interested in music, primarily those of the string variety, and lives in an abandoned area of Detroit in which it seems, at first, his only contact with the outside world is this “Zombie,” what he calls humans, named Ian (Anton Yelchin). But, as we soon discover, despite this lonesome life he seemingly lives, in which suicide is tempting, he does have a wife in Eve (Tilda Swinton) and a sort-of sister in law named Ava (Mia Wasikowska).
As for the story, its sole focus is the romance of Adam and Eve, of which Eve is the older of the set and seemingly she is almost as much a doting mother as Adam’s lover. She is the one who talks him out of suicide, reminds him of the vivaciousness life can have, and tries to be as supporting as a woman can be. However, Ava’s return in their life shakes things up and forces them to leave Detroit for Morocco. A place which, unfortunately for them, holds some very somber news waiting for them.
Something I really admired about the film is that it poked fun at the idea of someone living for centuries, much less a vampire, without becoming campy in the process. For example, there are running jokes throughout the film on how between Adam and Marlowe (John Hurt), a friend of Eve’s, that they have both contributed to some of the greatest creative works in history. Be it the work of Schubert, of which Adam gave music to, or Marlowe saying he vicariously used Shakespeare to get his work out there, there are a lot of silly moments which got the audience I watched the film with to chuckle.
Also, add on that Swinton, despite the gloomy performance of Hiddleston, brought quite a bit of life to the movie. She, without a doubt, is an excellent character actress and as much as Hiddleston, at first, had a Lestat appeal, Swinton’s Eve seems like something Anne Rice would wish she created. She is amusing, lovable, and yet has a taste of fearsomeness when it is called for. And with Hiddleston as a lover, the two make for quite a cute couple and, though their romance isn’t that physical, you can tell it is because it has evolved from that point to where they are to each other what lessens the burden of eternity.
However, let me say that sometimes this film did feel like it went on far too long. For one, there is really no conflict in the film what so ever. It feels almost like a reality show in which we watch Adam lounge around, go out to a local hospital and give Dr. Watson (Jeffrey Wright) a quick fright before he gets his blood in exchange for money, and other really mundane tasks. Then, even when he and Eve are united, while there are some interesting scenes between the two, things lack excitement. Which seemingly was to be corrected by Ava showing up, but almost as soon as she arrives she is gone, and we are left with this boring old couple once more. Making this 2-hour movie a real pain in the tailbone.
Overall: TV Viewing
Despite it being a tad boring, especially toward the end, I don’t think this is at all a bad movie. The main issue here is that this film lacks any type of conflict, outside of Ava’s arrival. Then, even with that, the situation is handled without any issue to the point it feels like this film has nothing to really offer you. Yes, the dialogue is comical, and Swinton and Hiddleston make for a nice couple, but I find it hard to justify paying for a movie which doesn’t have any type of oomph to make it stand out, outside of the fact it is a vampire film which doesn’t seem written for teenaged girls. And really, if that is one of the highlights, then it is hard to say this is something you can’t just wait to see on DVD or when it comes on one of the various cable, subscriber, or online stations.