‘What are we going to do with him? I mean it’s not like the old days when we could chuck them in the Thames alongside all the other tubercular floaters’ such are the problems faced by the modern vampire couple. Only Adam (Tom Hiddleston) and Eve (Tilda Swinton) are not exactly modern themselves, they are basically a pair of hippy Goths alienated from the wider horrors of our contemporary society.
As the film opens we find Adam in Detroit contemplating shooting himself with a wooden bullet and drawing Eve back from her self-imposed exile in Tangier with the presumed murdered Christopher Marlowe, yes that Dr Faustus Christopher Marlowe (John Hurt) who is of course a vampire too. For a while Adam and Eve enjoy the quiet solitude of Adam’s splendidly decaying mansion, but then Eve’s wild child little sister Ava (Mia Wasikowska) turns up and starts making trouble that’s likely to get the lovers noticed.
Directed by Jim Jarmusch, Only Lovers Left Alive is the love story of two sophisticated and intelligent outsiders who have both experienced many remarkable events throughout their long lives, but always unnoticed from the margins of respectable society. In many ways they are a metaphor for those subcultures that are derided by society at large, even more so now that we live in the post Brexit and Trump world.
The film is beautifully shot with much of the action taking place obviously enough at night. Yorick Le Saux’s cinematography of interiors often reminded me of paintings by Dutch masters like Rembrandt. As far as vampires go Jarmusche really could not have cast this movie any better, Swinton is delightfully etherial, while Hiddleston has something of the early Andrew Eldritch about him . And when you combine the sculpted cheekbones of Hiddleston, Swinton and Hurt they are so sharp they must surely constitute a deadly weapon of mass destruction. There’s also a nice supporting role from the unfortunate Anton Yelchin as Adam’s Mr Fixit.
Beautiful, poignant and funny I give Only Lovers Left Alive a 666/666
Only Lovers Left Alive is out now as a download from We are Colony