Review: Only Lovers Left Alive / Cert: 15 / Director: Jim Jarmusch / Screenplay: Jim Jarmusch / Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Tilda Swinton, Mia Wasikowska, John Hurt, Anton Yelchin / Release Date: Out Now (Limited)
Legendary indie director Jarmusch gets in on the vampire film in his own unique way, and comes up with a brilliant transcendental experience.
Adam and Eve (Hiddleston and Swinton) are a married couple living on different continents. Eve in Tangier, living a bohemian but solitary lifestyle, Musician Adam in Detroit, composing on his archaic, analogue equipment and much more reclusive. Adam's only friend, Ian (Yelchin) acts as his portal to the outside world, securing his fix of expensive, rare guitars, and accepts a commission to produce a wooden bullet. The pair are centuries old vampires, living off a diet of safely acquired blood; Adam's from a hospital, Eve's from Elizabethan poet and fellow vamp, Christopher Marlowe (Hurt). Sensing her beau is depressed, she travels across the world to be with him; their idyllic lifestyle only broken when Eve's wayward sister, Mia (Wasikowska) turns up.
Trust a maverick like Jarmusch to produce a vampire film that, while it lacks bite and fright, is thoroughly engrossing and immersive. It's a dialogue-led film, but has so many rich flourishes which mesmerise, and an equally stunning score by Jozef van Wissem. The similarities of the vampire lifestyle and addictions are obvious, and handled with the director's usual wit; a nightclub scene, for example, has 'dealer' Ian selling a rare vinyl record as if it were heroin. It's a film which will appeal to the hipster crowd, who will no doubt delight in the retro-chic of Adam's abode (his laptop is connected to an old CRT television and he has reel-to-reel recording equipment lining the walls) and numerous cultural references (“There's Jack White's house”). However, it's coolness has substance, and never feels forced. Although, it's melancholic, brooding atmosphere may be heavy going for casual viewers.
Both leads are brilliant; Hiddleston no doubt destined to be a poster boy for the post-Edward crowd with his rock star flowing locks and sullen demeanour and Swinton is enigmatically resplendent in her usual, unique, kooky way.
While it's not a film for every taste, like the very best O'negative, it is absolutely delicious.