The independent films of Jim Jarmusch have always held a quiet cool. For his latest cinematic venture, Only Lovers Left Alive, Jarmusch delves into the melancholy and decaying world of a pair of modern-day vampires who sense that the last days of civilization are at hand.
Tom Hiddleston plays a despondent musician named Adam who resides in Detroit. He pines for his lover Eve (Tilda Swinton), who resides in Morocco, so she travels to be with him. We learn that their romance has endured over several centuries. The unwanted arrival of Eve’s bratty and careless younger sister (Mia Wasikowska) disrupts their solitude.
Despite the dark theme and dreamy, mildly depressing mood, there are flashes of dry wit and sardonic observations that provoke thought. More a love story than a ‘monster movie,’ Jarmusch has his characters comment on the deplorable condition of the planet, also carefully selecting Detroit — the bankrupt and largely deserted shambles of a city — as the main locale. The antiquity of his central characters lends a historic overview; we sense this couple has helplessly observed many destructive changes over the centuries.
The beauty of this hypnotic movie lies in the characters’ ability to appreciate the beauty — both natural and created — of the world around them, despite their general malaise.
The casting of the three leads (also Anton Yelchin, Jeffrey Wright and John Hurt in supporting roles) is beyond perfection. With their other-worldly beauty, Hiddleston and Swinton drift through this movie like mysterious wraiths.
Only Lovers Left Alive is now playing in selected cinemas throughout Los Angeles.