Much like my recent admission that I'm not big on the zombies, I haven't been particularly stoked on vampire films as of late either. I think that vampires are supposed to be monsters, and this cultural obsession with romanticizing them just doesn't appeal to me. Give me Near Dark crazy-ass vampires, or the classic Nosferatu: but if I see so much as one smolder or sparkle, I'm done. However, when I finally had the opportunity to see Jim Jarmusch's Only Lovers Left Alive a few months ago, I was awe-struck. I was enchanted. And I was a little bit in love.
Only Lovers centers around the love story between vampires Adam and Eve. They have been together for centuries, worshipping each other and watching history unfold before their eyes. They have imbibed and waxed philosophical with poets and painters and the greatest scientific minds known to man. But as time rolls on, the more sensitive Adam is becoming disillusioned with the behavior of humans (whom vampires refer to as zombies) and is contemplating suicide. Only his dearest love can save him from himself, as they weather the twin storms that are Adam's psyche and Eve's young vampiric sister. Set against the lonely and deteriorating backdrop of Detroit, Only Lovers Left Alive is an immortal romance with a deeply beating heart.
I honestly don't believe I have ever been more moved by a vampire story, or a romantic film for that matter. Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston are the most perfectly cast vampires I have ever seen, and their mutual androgyny just melts around one another like a giant wave of pale sex. You absolutely believe that this is a couple that has spent centuries together, learning every single minute detail about one another, and then a decade here and there apart, discovering themselves. Even moments of complete quiet ripple with the chemistry of two people intoxicated by one another.
The supporting cast, especially Mia Wasikowska as Eve's derelict, blood-drunk little sister, is strong and perfectly disrupts the careful reverie built by these remarkable characters. There really isn't a massive plot outside of watching Adam and Eve exist, and eventually try to locate an untainted blood source, but that doesn't make it any less bewitching. I found myself longing to exist in the same world as them, if only for a moment, just to see as much beauty as they did.
This is a film that once finished, I immediately wanted to watch again. And again. Because for the first time in my life, Jim Jarmusch made immortality look like a gift, and not a curse. Not only that, but he made vampires something amazing again. For that feat alone, this is a movie that should be celebrated.
Only Lovers Left Alive is coming to blu ray/DVD/digital download on August 19th, so make sure you check out this remarkable film!