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Tilda Swinton And Tom Hiddleston Are Sexy Hipster Vampires In 'Only Lovers Left Alive'
The characters of Jim Jarmusch's films always seem to inhabit a different planet even though his films take place in a reality very much in sync with ours. From the hipsters suffering from urban ennui in Stranger Than Paradise to Bill Murray's aging Don Juan in Broken Flowers, Jarmusch's characters are always afflicted with a terminally cool, mannered detachment as they wander and explore a world that is obviously our own yet feels so remote and alien. It's as if every movie set he works on must come prepared with a stock of Ray Bans. It only felt right that Jarmusch had to wrestle back the coolest, suavest beings in the history of culture from the YA set: the vampire.
And let's face it, no matter how much damage Twilight has done to their reputations, vampires are pretty fucking cool. They're always so eloquent and well-read since they have all the time in the world to absorb culture. What else is there to do when you are awake when the world is sleeping and you can live forever? In Jarmusch's Only Lovers Left Alive, Adam and Eve (Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton) are our two champions of centuries of cool. Adam spends his time living in seclusion, shacked up in a fixer-upper on the outskirts of Detroit, collecting vintage guitars and making spectacular guitar drone music that serves as the film's score (in real life, Jarmusch's own band SQÜRL). His wife Eve lives on the other side of the Atlantic, palling around with fellow vampire Christopher Marlowe (John Hurt) in Tangier. And as it turns out, not only do they spend their time absorbing culture, but they also contributed: Adam once gave an adagio to Franz Schubert and Marlowe actually wrote all of Shakespeare's work.
The bulk of the two hours of Only Lovers Left Alive are spent hanging out with just Adam and Eve as they enjoy music, art, and literature while drinking pharmaceutically-sourced blood supplied on the down-low (O-negative, please). Adam hates leaving the house because he can't stand to be in the presence of "zombies," as he calls the rest of humanity. But after Eve flies in from Tangier he finds comfort in driving her around Detroit afterhours. Jarmusch's first film shot digitally, Yorick Le Saux's eerie night cinematography and the digital flatness of the picture makes the ruins of present-day Detroit appear as if it's the bombed-out remnants of the Apocalypse that happened on another world. Adam and Eve aren't literally the only lovers left alive, but it sure feels that way at times and is all the more romantic for it.
Only Lovers Left Alive may be a little too thin on plot for some viewers, even for a Jarmusch film. The most disruption that happens occurs when Eve's annoying younger sister Ava (Mia Wasikowska) comes to visit from Los Angeles ("Zombie central," sneers Adam), but she is quickly jettisoned for being far too much for Adam and Eve to handle. As you might have guessed, Only Lovers Left Alive is less a 'vampire movie' and more a paean to art and the passion that has kept it alive through the centuries. The draw of Only Lovers Left Alive is in the the magnetism of both Adam and Eve. The two vampires defy being present in the world around them physically though their conversations are chock full of culture and life as they casually talk about hanging out with Lord Byron, listen to obscure 60s soul records and play chess. They're certainly the snobbiest hipsters you'll ever meet, but they have the cred to back it up.
Only Lovers Left Alive opens in theaters on Friday.