The epically strange and oddly beautiful Tilda Swinton
and the chiseled, Byronically good looking Tom Hiddleston
are perfectly cast in Jim Jarmusch’s latest indie concoction “Only Lovers Left Alive”
a love story that portrays the relationship between Adam (Hiddleston) and Eve (Swinton) two millennia old vampires that drift world wearily through their existence with languid elegance, anchored only by their fortuitous connection (call it love if you will) with each other.
This addition to the now ubiquitous canon of vampire lore is an entirely different animal from “Twilight” or any of the other teen romance nonsense though. If anything, Jarmusch, a deeply erudite, highly experimental film-maker is more interested in the premise of love evolving over eons and battling the ennui of living forever – hence the handy trick of having his two protagonists be blood drinking beings with attractively pointy teeth.
Hiddleston’s tortured Adam lives in a romantically desolate and beaten up Detroit, surrounded by cassettes of his music, his antique guitars, and a reliable source of pure O negative from the local corrupt doctor. Disgusted by humanity (whom he rather meanly calls “zombies”) Hiddleston asks his local fixer Ian (the always endearing Anton Yelchin) to find him a wooden bullet – using the subterfuge of a potential art project to hide his recurring suicidal thoughts.
Luckily, Eve reaches out to him just in time from her abode in Tangier. Realising that all is not well with her immortal beloved she flies through the night to be with him in his desolation, cheering him up with her ethereal beauty and her graceful acceptance of what they are.
Watching these two lovers together is one of the great pleasures of this very particular film, which seems – once it has ended – more of a wish fulfillment on the part of Jarmusch (albeit a sublimely gorgeous one) than a proper film as convention would have it. That being said, most of Jarmusch’s films are similarly meandering in their whimsy, sometimes almost incomprehensible in terms of dialogue and always filled with the most eclectic and marvelous music. In that particular way this brilliantly atmospheric film is no different – taking us out of our rather banal ordinary lives and into the richness of a cinematic world where Christopher (Kit) Marlowe (played by the wonderful [John Hurt](: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000457/)) is a vampire too, living in Tangier, writing prose that surpasses Shakespeare and stroking Tilda Swinton’s blonde mane as he talks to her about arcane philosophy.
There is a story of sorts in “Only Lovers Left Alive” – but the real reason to watch this film is to immerse oneself in a world alive with romance and possibility, where beautiful age old beings drift about dancing to rock music, with their sunglasses on as they reminisce about Tesla, Einstein and Schubert. Does this sound insufferably arty to you? It isn’t, mainly because of the brilliant casting and Jarmusch’s unerring sensibility. One of the truly independent filmmakers living and working today, each of his films are little revelations, gems that require intense concentration and endless rewatching. I can’t wait to see what he will produce next.