Review: 'Only Lovers Left Alive'

Review: 'Only Lovers Left Alive' |

I'd been waiting to see Only Lovers Left Alive pretty much since it was announced. I'm a huge fan of both Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston (who isn't?), and I was excited to see how they would work together and with writer/director Jim Jarmusch. I'm happy to say that the film did not disappoint.

Only Lovers Left Alive is more of a character study than a plot-driven narrative, so it won't be for everyone. That is, however, one of the reasons I loved it so much. Maybe it's the poet in me, or maybe it's just my love of auteur films, but I thought this film was a fresh take on the way movies are made. So many movies today move so quickly lest the audience should grow bored, but Jarmusch's film moves at a much slower pace that gives viewers time to immerse themselves in the world of this story and connect with the characters. 

The film tells the story of Adam (Tom Hiddleston) and Eve (Tilda Swinton), two cultured and sensitive vampires who have been lovers for centuries. Lovers of music, literature, and science, they are not the wild and crazed vampires of today's pop culture, though a sense of that wildness lies under the surface. Humans have contaminated their own blood over the years, and vampires must get their blood from safe sources like hospitals. Adam, living as a recluse in present-day Detroit, is depressed about the decline of humanity and creating music seems to be his only comfort. Eve, who he's been married to for centuries,  speaks with him and senses his depression, and she leaves her home in Tangier to come to him. Together, Adam and Eve have a short time of closeness before Eve's reckless and less-controlled sister, Ava (Mia Wasikowska), comes to town.

Other stars include John Hurt as Eve's close friend Christopher Marlowe, Elizabethan dramatist and unacknowledged author of Shakespeare’s plays; Anton Yelchin as Ian, who provides Adam with rare musical instruments and is the closest thing he has to a friend; and Jeffrey Wright as the skittish and hilarious hematologist who provides Adam with clean blood for a rather steep price.

Only Lovers Left Alive is a wonderful film driven by beautiful cinematography, wandering and trance-like music, and dry humor befitting of centuries-old creatures. It's a quiet film that stays with you long after it's over and speaks to the part of us that wonders what our lives mean in the long run.