Over the last few years there has been an uptick in the number of distributors who have taken the extra time to hand select films that they wish to release on blu-ray and then go above and beyond when it comes time to package them. Criterion is the most established and well known, of course, but it’s time that Plain Archive gets a spotlight. Plain is based out of Korea, and is making one hell of an impression on me with Only Lovers Left Alive, the first release of theirs that I’ve picked up. Let me tell you, these are top shelf offerings. Let’s dig in.
The Movie Itself [usr 4] :
Only Lovers Left Alive is the story of a musician who’s begun to lose his spark for life. He reconnects with his longtime lover and things take a turn for the better. That is, better until her younger and wilder sister appears on the scene and adds a healthy dose of anarchy to the picture.
This all sounds like the setup to a dime a dozen rom-com, am I right? Well, when I tell you that the spin on this tale is that the trio are vampires who have been on this earth for centuries, you are sure to start thinking tween romance similar to Twilight. I’ll go ahead and stifle that thought now. Rest assured, this film is far more mature and offers a surprisingly refreshing look at vampire love that I believe anyone can enjoy.
Only Lovers Left Alive provides an in-depth look into the psyche of a vampire who finds very little pleasure in this world. It’s quite an interesting study in character, and seeing him react and go through a series of events that are so different than his normal daily life is fascinating.
The film has a slower pace than one would expect when you hear “vampire”, but if you are familiar with Anne Rice’s vamps, you will know a little of what to expect.
At the end of the day, Only Lovers Left Alive is well acted, interesting, and enjoyable. I would recommend a watch for sure.
Video Quality [usr 5] :
Only Lovers Left Alive is bordering on perfect in terms of video quality. It was shot digitally and boy can you tell the difference it makes. The colors and shots used all set the mood perfectly, establishing a dark, moody undertone that matches the characters wonderfully. Note: There is a noticeable amount of film grain that I believe is used in a way to add to the mood here. Some people may find it a bit distracting.
Audio Quality [usr 4]:
Considering the fact that the main character is a musician, the music plays a big part in the film. The track is mixed quite well. Almost too well, actually; there is some subtle pillow talk that is a little hard to hear. To be honest though, it made sense according to the scene, so there’s a bit of a give and take there. You truly feel like you’re in the room with them, which is great, but you really have to pay attention or you might miss a word or two.
What’s In the Packaging [usr 5]:
- Plain Archive Digipack
- Limited, numbered to 1250 (400 available internationally)
- 40 page booklet
- 2 movie cards
Special Features [usr 3.5]:
Although interesting, the special features was the one place that I felt that this package failed to shine. I would have liked to have seen some more content.
- Traveling at Night with Jim Jarmusch (Hd, 50mins)
- Deleted and Extended Scenes
- Music Video : Lebanese singer Yasmine Hamdal performs “Hal” (HD, 3mins)
- 1080p/AVC MPEG-4
- Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
- English and Korean subtitles
- Audio Formats:
- English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Final Thoughts [usr 4.5]:
It’s hard for me to not recommend these ’boutique’ blu-ray to everyone, even if the film might not be up their alley. Quite frankly the package that Plain puts together is beautiful and worth displaying with pride. Having said all that, most people only want to drop the bigger dollars for films that they enjoy thoroughly. The movie itself is really good, but if you are on the fence, maybe give it a rent or watch some trailers before you decide.