A reclusive, Bowie-like rock star (Tom Hiddleston) — who also happens to be a centuries-old vampire — has his moody, nocturnal reverie disturbed by clamouring fans, a visit from his bloodsucking belle (Tilda Swinton) and the jibes of her irascible sister (Mia Wasikowska), in the eagerly anticipated new film from American indie icon Jim Jarmusch.
Only Lovers Left Alive
In what marks a distinctive change of pace, American indie icon Jim Jarmusch turns to the vampire genre to fashion this gorgeously conceived and idiosyncratic film that nevertheless bears all the trademarks of his work to date: hip, stylized, erudite and acerbic in just the right ways. Starring the incomparable Tilda Swinton, the chameleonic Mia Wasikowska (also at the Festival in Tracks and The Double), and Tom Hiddleston in a major departure, Only Lovers Left Alive occupies a claustrophobic, languid nocturnal world befitting vampires who live a counter-normal existence. Centuries old, they have seen it all, and simply want to be left alone to get on with their (eternal) lives.
Adam (Hiddleston) is a reclusive, Bowielike rock star, whose only wish is to avoid his adoring fans and write and play his music, which these days tends towards the funereal. Eve (Swinton) is his lady belle, who leaves her closest friend, Christopher Marlowe (John Hurt), to travel halfway around the world to be with her lover and live in a ramshackle mansion-cum-recording studio on the outskirts of Detroit. Their reverie is troubled, not just by the fans who close in on and keep vigil outside Adam's hideaway, but also by Eve's irascible sister (Wasikowska).
Music, not surprisingly, centres the film,
but Jarmusch's net is cast wider here. Having
lived so long, Adam and Eve can count
amongst their acquaintances the crème de
la crème of artists and scientists — Byron,
Shelley, Kepler, Darwin, Copernicus — none
of whom make an appearance, but all of
whom are invoked in tones of nostalgia for
a glorious past that our vampires can never
repeat. Hypnotic, dreamlike, mesmerizing…
Jarmusch is a master of moody reverie.