Only Lovers Left Alive

Only Lovers Left Alive
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Director: Jim Jarmusch
Cert: 15A
Genre: Drama
Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Tilda Swinton, John Hurt
Runing Time: 2 hrs 3 mins

Contrary to expectation, Adam and Eve are among the last of their kind. Centuries into his existence, world-weary vampire Adam (Tom Hiddleston) has grown tired even of his former passions: primarily poetry, guitars and music composition.

While his wife Eve (Tilda Swinton) is out of town, visiting mutual friend Marlowe (John Hurt) in Tangier, Adam asks Ian (Anton Yelchin), his token human pal, to find him a wooden bullet so that he might end it all. Sensing the depth of her longtime companion’s depression, Eve returns home to a deserted Detroit to snap him out of it.

For a time, the lovers are simply happy to be together sharing blood popsicles, listening to music and playing chess. That is, until Eve’s troublesome younger sister Ava (Mia Wasikowska) blows in from LA. Will Adam and Eve’s careful hermetic existence survive a visit from an unwanted in-law?

Director Jim Jarmusch's 11th feature, arguably his best since Dead Man (1995), brings together everything the auteur is known and loved for: aimless night wandering (or driving) around less than salubrious boroughs, music as companionship, languorous rhythms.

Only Lovers Left Alive is a perfect Jarmusch movie. His doornail-deadpan might have been invented to frame the undead. His brand of hipster – thinking outside the current pejorative sense – is still two decades ahead of the contemporary kind. His ability to deconstruct genre conventions, a natural and happy adjunct from his interest downtime, is perfectly apt here: nobody has more downtime than an immortal.

This a picture composed of lovely details: the couple's adolescent love of classic guitars and rock'n'roll, their occasional lapses into courtly behaviour of yore, the contented silences they enjoy in each other's company. Never mind the supernatural: Only Lovers Left Alive forms a touching portrait of something just as intangible: Adam and Eve are not simply marrieds or lovers: they are soul mates.

Jarmusch’s characteristically Zen screenplay is flawlessly minimal as the technical team meet the veteran film-maker head-on: Yorick Le Saux’s cinematography finds unexpected nuances in the darkness, and Motown has never sounded clearer or sadder. It hardly needs to be said that the cast are, without exception, marvellous.

See it and try to think “vampire” in the future without conjuring Tom and Tilda.