They had me at Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton. Honestly, I would watch these two actors in anything, but the two of them portraying vampires really got my attention. And especially being directed by the legendary Jim Jarmusch. I guess I never imagined Jarmusch would write a film about vampires, but then again, Jarmusch doesn't follow rules. He writes what he wants. And this is not a horror film, nor is it a film aimed at teenagers. Jarmusch's vampires don't sparkle, crack, suck the whole town dry or sleep in coffins. They're quite sophisticated, highly intelligent, and avid observers of the human race. And who wouldn't be after existing for centuries on end?
Hiddleston and Swinton play Adam and Eve, a married vampire couple who have been together for centuries, though not always living together. When the movie opens we find Eve living in Tangiers while Adam is living in Detroit, Michigan. Detroit struck me as an odd hometown for a vampire, but when you think about it, it's actually rather perfect. Jarmusch shows the vacated, desolate city at night, a perfect spot for a vampire to go about an anti social nocturnal musician lifestyle. Adam finds himself feeling depressed about his life and life in general so his ever-loyal wife, Eve, goes to great lengths to travel at night to be by his side in Detroit. And yes, she travels like normal folks do; by plane and car; not by turning into a bat or running at a non human super fast speed.
The movie really begins when Eve finally reaches Adam and we get to see the closeness of their relationship. It is a true love and one that knows no bounds. Its hypnotic to watch. Adam shows Eve his home and city by taking romantic night drives. He also makes his regular visit to a local hematologist who provides him with clean blood. The humans, or zombies as Adam calls them, have messed up civilization, as well as their own blood, which is not safe for vampire consumption. The only way to survive is to find a source for clean blood and the local hematologist hesitantly provides this clean blood in exchange for large sums of cash. Those scenes are rather funny with Jeffrey Wright playing the nervous Dr. The movie has moments of very dry and witty humor.
Midway through the film, trouble comes to town when Eve's younger sister, Ava, finds them and comes for a visit. Adam wants no part of it, but Eve can't say no to her sister. Ava is a wild child who is extremely playful, but also unpredictable. Thus, Adam and Eve find themselves cleaning up Ava's mess. Again.
And now we enter the third act of the story. Finding it no longer safe to live in Detroit, Adam and Eve are forced to travel back to Eve's home in Tangiers. Adam has to leave behind all of his beloved musical instruments, but at least he and Eve are together and safe; for a bit. Back in Tangiers feeling tired and weak, they find that their dear friend, the elder vampire Marlowe, has fallen ill from tainted blood and suffers the ultimate consequence. Facing that, Adam and Eve also find themselves without a source for obtaining clean blood and are quickly loosing their strength. Don't worry, I won't give away the ending. You'll have to watch that for yourself.
I found 'Only Lovers Left Alive' to be truly mesmerizing. The music, the cinematography, the acting and the writing all come together to make a beautiful methodic film. It's a romantic tale of love that lasts through oceans of time. It doesn't matter that the lovers just happen to be vampires. That really isn't the point. Jarmusch wants the viewer to focus on the characters themselves, what they've observed in their very long lives, and how deeply they love each other no matter what. I read somewhere that this is a thinking man or woman's vampire movie. Perhaps it is because if you're looking for gore and violence you won't find it here. You'll find a true work of art on the big screen. And I would like to thank Jim Jarmusch for that; and Tom, Tilda and John Hurt. Bravo to you all. And that's the Reel Deal Movie review.