If you like the tame, domestic vampires in Twilight or the animalistic, sensual bloodsuckers in True Blood, Only Lovers Left Alive may not be your cup of tea. This is a stylish, slick portrayal of vampires that is unlike anything we’ve seen before.
The married vampires Adam (Tom Hiddleston) and Eve (Tilda Swinton) have lived together for centuries but in the beginning of the film they’re not even on the same continent. The spinning birdshot of Eve in Tanger, Adam in Detroit and a vinyl record playing Funnel Of Love with Wanda Jackson is an opener that’s hard to beat.
The undead both get their blood highs from different suppliers since apparently, in the 21st century it’s nearly impossible to drink human blood because of the risk of diseases.
As Adam’s fiddling away on his guitar it becomes apparent that he’s depressed about the state of the world and the zombies (us poor little humans) in it when he orders a wooden bullet. If you’re not familiar with vampire ‘lore’, a wooden bullet to the heart is said to be one of the few ways to kill off an immortal.
When the couple’s reunited in Detroit, the chemistry between Hiddleston and Swinton at times leans towards a perverse mother/son relationship. “How could you have lived for so long and still not get it?” she asks and he has no answer.
With that said, it makes perfect sense that the chemistry between a couple that has spent an abnormal long time together would be out of the ordinary and writer/director Jim Jarmusch (Broken Flowers, Ghost Dog) has created the perfect atmosphere for his duo in Detroit.
There’re countless haunting, dark, beautiful shoots of the streets of Detroit as Adam and Eve are driving around the city and with a melancholy soundtrack without lyrics, Jarmusch manages to put us in those streets without losing the cinema magic.
Only Lovers Left Alive may put style before plot but with these engaging characters and style, nearly nothing’s missing from this visual treat.