sat 18/05/2024

Only Lovers Left Alive | reviews, news & interviews

Only Lovers Left Alive

Only Lovers Left Alive

Jarmusch eschews the horrific in favour of bohemian vampires

Sexy beasts: Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston in 'Only Lovers Left Alive'

Unique, dreamy, super cool and splendidly silly, just like its maker Jim Jarmusch, Only Lovers Left Alive is a vampire flick packed full of romanticism, wit and enchanting, fuzzy music. Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton are perfectly cast as a pair of vampires named Adam and Eve entangled for eternity by the bonds of love.

They don't prowl around town searching for victims, instead they live peaceful existences surrounded by the “human zombies” who are slowly ruining their beloved planet.

LA is “zombie central” according to Adam (Hiddleston), an ex-rock star who now hides away from the world. He lives a solitary existence shacked up in his musty bohemian nest in the back streets of Detroit and feeding (figuratively at least) off its diverse and rich musical history. Adam has become depressed at the state of things, especially the behaviour of the  aforementioned zombies, and so his confidante and wife Eve (Swinton) - feeling his pain from across a vast ocean - leaves her velvety, opulent lair in Tangier to come soothe his woes.

Eve relishes the physical beauty of her books as she packs treasures - such as Infinite Jest and Don Quixote - for her nocturnal flight, fingering the pages and admiring the scripts of different languages. Her take on eternal life is far more upbeat than Adam’s as she takes delight in literature and her kinship with Christopher Marlowe (John Hurt - astute and charming as usual). When Eve’s antagonistic sister Ava (Mia Wasikowska - pictured above right with Anton Yelchin - who's reminiscent of Kirsten Dunst’s eternal child from Interview with the Vampire) turns up to interfere in Adam and Eve’s intimate tryst, things take a turn for the even more amusing as her LA ways begin to wreak havoc on their lifestyle.

Jarmusch tenderly plays with vampire tropes full tongue-in-cheek, but his worries for destruction in the name of progress feel a little more heartfelt. He reaches far back into literary, scientific and musical history, and even the ecology of fungi (Jarmusch, after a run in with a poisonous mushroom, apparently became obsessed with them), though all of it ultimately comes drenched in his trademark deadpan humour.  

There are historical in-jokes aplenty - references to a fella named Fibonacci, a night-time drive past Jack White’s house, Dr Watson (Jeffrey Wright) as blood supplier to Adam - all threading wonderfully together as part of Jarmusch’s typical idiosyncratic playfulness. The music, provided by the trio Squrl - who consist of Jarmusch, Carter Logan and Shane Stoneback - is a hypnotic combination of exotic guitar twangs melded with melancholic undertones, creating an entrancing ambience which is strikingly mirrored in the lavish aesthetic.

Fans of Jarmusch should be excited as this is one of his best to date, thanks to his spot-on insertion of the hippy zeitgeist into the souls of two wise lovers as they ponder and philosophise regarding their fears and the thrills of the modern world. 

Overleaf: watch the trailer for Only Lovers Left Alive


Fans of Jarmusch should be excited as this is one of his best to date


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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