Movie review: Only Lovers Left Alive

Jim Jarmisch film, starring Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton.

This film is a languidly paced drama about a pair of old vampires, Adam and Eve. Despite the names there is not an indication that they are original vampires or anything like that. Maybe it is meant to indicate that they are meant to be together?

While watching the film, at times it felt infuriatingly slow. There are long drives through Detriot, conversations that don’t seem to go anywhere etc. After watching it, however, I like it more.

For one thing, the vampires mature – they don’t age in the sense that they deteriorate mentally or physically, but they gain experience, and knowledge. Adam knows how to play many instruments, and is said to be a musical genius (Although if you subscribe to the 10000 hours theory, what vampire couldn’t be a genius? They have loads of time to practice.) Eve is very literary, and their friend is Christopher Marlow – who in the film wrote all of Shakespeare’s works. And they stay in love. One of the issues I have with alot of vampire films and books is that the vampire is always attracted to a human that is 17 or 22 or whatever. I mean, if you are 200 years old, what would you talk about with a 17 year old? My explanation, to get over it, has been that vampirism is a metaphor for addiction, and the vampire stays the emotional age they were at the time they were turned. This film doesn’t do that, thankfully. And one gets the sense that they are not radically different than they were during their human life, but rather they have grown and developed. Become more themselves given the infinite amount of time they seem to have.

Visually, the film is just beautiful. The scene where Tom and Eve are asleep together, nude, looks like a painting I would hang on my wall.

The end of the film is the big pay off. If you let yourself be drawn into the world, accept the almost real time feeling of the pace, it is very much worth it. And it is a vampire film about love, change, sophistication that only Jim Jarmusch would make.


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