Only Lovers Left Alive
Starring Tom Hiddleston Tilda Swinton Mia Wasikowska Anton Yelchin John Hurt Jeffrey Wright
For a director that has literally been making the same movie for 17 years (Coffee & Cigarettes), Jim Jarmusch delivers his most exquisite film to date with the help of striking performances from Oscar winner Tilda Swinton (Michael Clayton, We Need to Talk About Kevin) and Marvel super-villain Tom Hiddleston. The entire project looks and feels strange, and I think that’s what makes it so interesting. You might never have imagined Swinton as a blood sucking vampire, but yet here she is, looking like she was born to play this part. While he certainly has his own Loki groupies, Hiddleston plays this sexy gothic rock star persona magnificently.
They speak of time in centuries; discuss the parts they played silently throughout history, referring to memories like map dots in a history book. Like the last few of their kind, Adam (Hiddleston) and Eve (Swinton) have become complacent and bored with life. They seem to only be reminded of life’s joy when they feed on the only thing they crave: blood. An underground musician bored by loneliness, Adam summons Eve to return to the desolate city of Detroit to lift his spirits. She leaves her simple life in Morocco with her delicious supply of French blood to aid her troubled lover.
"If Jarmusch’s goal was to show audiences how creative a real vampire film can be, complete with dark brooding humor, I think he has succeeded."
I really enjoyed the slow reveal of Adam and Eve’s secret; we never see their teeth and don’t understand their predicament fully until we realize it’s blood they are sneaking around for. Their conversations are sometimes tiresome, but upon examination, the world Jarmusch creates here is fascinating. Their obsession with vintage clothing, music and materials always gives depth to their longevity. Eve can simply place her hands on wood or clothing to reveal its age. They drive around at night, Adam commenting on the desolation of Detroit since the recession while Eve explains that the city has water, and when the south burns, the people and commerce will return.
“You always have the comfort of zombies to blame when you get low,” Eve says to Adam. Zombies are what vampires call humans, and they despise how the zombies treat each other and infect their own blood. Now vampires have to be very careful what type of blood they feed on. At one point in the film Eve makes O negative popsicles, which Adam finds surprisingly refreshing. A comment made by Adam’s medical blood source (Wright) about the seriousness of Vitamin D deficiency was particularly witty. If Jarmusch’s goal was to show audiences how creative a real vampire film can be, complete with dark brooding humor, I think he has succeeded.
Striking and diabolical, Swinton and Hiddleston are fascinating to watch.