Jim Jarmusch likes to film in cities at night. The result, even when depicting ordinary people in ordinary situations, is a magical glimpse into the unique character of each of the varying urban landscapes he chooses as his base. He is therefore the ideal filmmaker to make a film about centuries-old vampires living in Detroit and Tangier (north coast of Morocco), because we all know vampires only come out at night.
Only Lovers Left Alive is the story of Adam and Eve (played perfectly by Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton), world-weary vampires who have moved beyond killing people to get the blood they need and who acquire their O-Neg through illegal but less fatal means (Adam from a doctor played by Jeffrey Wright; Eve from fellow-vampire Christopher Marlowe, played by John Hurt; yes he is THE Marlowe, the writer of Shakespeare’s plays, at least according to this film). Adam and Eve are lovers but Adam lives in an abandoned area of Detroit while Eve lives in Tangier (after a hundred and some years of living together, this is understandable). Adam is a brilliant musician who is tired of living in a world full of zombies (as he calls humans), the walking dead who have forgotten what life is about. When Eve senses Adam’s depression, she hops on a night-flight to Detroit to join him. Unfortunately, someone else is coming: Eve’s sister, Ava (Mia Wasikowska), a vampire who, however old she may be, still acts like a teenager.
As in most of Jarmusch’s films, plot is secondary to character-development, style, mood and lots of Jarmusch’s trademark droll humour, so if you are looking for action or a story to follow, don’t look here. But if you are looking for a gorgeous and gorgeously-filmed, slow-moving, intelligent, haunting, melancholic and funny poem about life in the 21st century, with a great score as a bonus, this is for you. I am no fan of horror films, but obviously a Jarmusch horror film works for me, because I am giving Only Lovers Left Alive ****. My mug is up for this top-ten contender.