Once upon a time vampires were cool, dark, brooding and sexy. Then along came the Twilight series and suddenly vampires were angst-ridden symbols of repressed suburban teenage sexuality. Oh, OK, and there was also that time in the 60s and 70s when vampires were full of kitschy humour. But, the point still stands, vampires were once cool.
Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive is cool. Morevoer, the film is a visually stunning, richly shot, and flamboyant attempt to reclaim the genre. Simultaneously hip and retrogressive, Only Lovers Left Alive manages to artfully draw us into a morally and aesthetically complex vision of the classic myth.
Tom Hiddleston plays Adam, a reclusive post-rock musician who shuns fame while still seeking to gain some kind of underground validation for his musical creations. Adam lives in the near vacant industrial wasteland of Detroit, while his wife, Eve (Tilda Swinton) Tangier, which is also home to another vampire, Christopher Marlowe (John Hurt), based on the actual writer.
The story is, in so many ways, just a thread designed to bring the characters together in a series of memorable, wonderfully shot sequences. The heart of this film is really the questions it keeps posing about the nature of humanity, beauty, and art. Only Lovers Left Alive prefers style over substance. But, when the style is so delicious and relentlessly original it is hard not to be won over, no matter how jaded one might be about the whole vampire genre. Highly recommended.
You can also read James’ full review here.