Only Lovers Left Alive – Twilight for Grown-ups!

Certainly his most lyrical film to date, writer/director Jim Jarmusch puts a new spin on the old Vampire cliché. Witty, teasing, poignant, and full of surprises, ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE infuses the genre with fresh blood.

Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton play Adam and Eve, the titular undead lovers, married for centuries, although presently living apart. Adam, a reclusive, world-weary, rock musician, lives in a dusty, cluttered mansion in a dilapidated part of Detroit, while his spouse resides in the livelier city of Tangiers. Adam’s polar opposite, Eve is a joyous spirit, in love with life, art, literature, and music – and without her Adam is incomplete.

Though still madly in love, their separation is one of necessity. Human blood can hardly be trusted nowadays. What with drugs and disease ‘n’ all, it has become hopelessly contaminated. Thus, Adam gets his supply of “the good stuff” from Dr. Watson (Jeffrey Wright), a local medical supplier, while Eve gets hers from Christopher Marlow (a crusty, old John Hurt), yes, the very same author who is believed to be the real author behind Shakespeare’s work.  They are classy, erudite and sophisticated, with impeccable taste developed over hundreds of years.

Adam listens to classic rock vinyl and collects vintage guitars provided by his young roadie/admirer/assistant Ian (Anton Yelchin), while Eve is a linguist and avid reader. They discuss art and literature endlessly over the phone, but at some point (about 40 minutes into the picture), their physical separation becomes unendurable, and Eve flies to join her husband in Detroit.

Immediate bliss, a continuation of the longest love affair in history. The couple lounge around the house, listening to great music, drinking premium blood, making love, talking of old times and friends, and go for a nocturnal spin through the bankrupt city in Adam’s old Jag convertible. Tilda Swinton (with long platinum-white hair) puts in an unusually warm and tender performance, enlivening the relationship, for Hiddleston’s character of Adam, with the look of a rock star, is far more reserved. Their passionate idyll, however, is soon disrupted by the sudden appearance of Eve’s younger vampire sister Ava (Mia Wasikowska), whose wild and blood-thirsty ways not only shatter their tranquility but put their very existence in danger.

So much so that the couple decides to hotfoot it back to Tangiers, where they can count on a continued and reliable supply of nourishment. But when this unexpectedly dries up, they are forced to compromise their sophisticated lifestyle and explore more traditional options.

Nominated for last year’s Palme D’Or, ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE is a treat, both visually and musically. A surprising Christmas release in Germany, it opened on December 25th, although it is not scheduled for release in the US until this coming April.


ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE – (UK/Germany); Running time: 123 mins; Writer/Dir: Jim Jarmusch; Cast: Tom Hiddleston, Tilda Swinton, Mia Wasikowska, John Hurt, Anton Yelchin; Cinematographer: Yorick le Saux; Production designer: Marco Bittner Rosser; Music: Jozef van Wissem, Sqürl; Distributors/Release dates: Sony Pictures Classic, 11. April, 2014 (USA) / Pandora Filmverleih, 25. December, 2013 (Germany)

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