When the Twilight Saga premiered at the movie theatres, I was one of the many fans who attended the midnight showing of each, and every film in the Twilight franchise. Surrounded by my nieces, great nieces, and my daughter, I chose the side of Team Edward. Silly me, little did I know that there was a much more sensuous telling of the classic vampire love story. Although Only Lovers Left Alive has been out for some time, the film has captured the soul of the dark romantic that I am.
Only Lovers Left Alive
Written and directed by Jim Jarmusch, Only Lovers Left Alive was released in 2013, and boasts the talented acting of Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska, Anton Yelchin, Jeffrey Wright, Slimane Dazi, and the fabulous John Hurt. Unlike the teenage angst love story of Twilight, which I still hold dear to my heart, Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive strokes the sensual stirrings of the adult mind. The film focuses on Adam (Tom Hiddleston) who lives in a very old and rundown Victorian home in a poor section of Detroit, while his wife Eve (Tilda Swinton) lives in exotic Tangier.
Adam loves music and art. He is a musician who collects vintage guitars with the help of a young man, Ian (Anton Yelchin). Ian is paid handsomely to search for these prized guitars but is kept at arm’s length by Adam, especially when he tries to promote the original music that Adam has recorded. It is rumored that Jarmusch had wanted to play the part of Adam, but he wisely chose Hiddleston, who brings that cocky Loki aura to the part of the multi century old vampire. Yes, this is a vampire story, but there is enough dry humor to make this film a very tasty delight to watch, especially when Adam is required to visit the blood bank ever so often to get his supply from Dr. Watson (Jeffrey Wright).
Eve is spiritually connected to Adam, although she is far away. Her humble abode is filled with classic books from around the world. She also has a supplier for her needed beverage. Eve visits a Tangier café where Bilal (Slimane Dazi) supplies the blood not only for Eve, but her mentor, Christopher Marlowe (John Hurt). Marlowe bemoans the fact that many of his plays were stolen from him by Shakespeare. Blood and knowledge are sacred to Eve, Adam, and Marlowe, but they no longer trust the old way of obtaining blood because of the contamination of blood from modern diseases. When Eve senses that Adam is suffering from depression, she quickly arranges to go to him via night flights and fake passports.
The sensuality between Hiddleston’s Adam and Swinton’s Eve is breathtaking. We learn through their conversations that they are very disappointed in the zombies (humans) because of their disrespect of nature and the arts. Imagine living so long that you have taught yourself the wonders of modern technology, using the science pioneered by Nikola Tesla. Yes, they were friends with him, too.
It is never mentioned, but you get the feeling that this couple is the original Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve’s romantic love fest is soon interrupted by Eve’s little sister Ava (Mia Wasikowska). The uncontrolled blood lust of little Ava forces Eve and Adam to flee Detroit.
Although the story moves at a slow pace, it never bores the viewer, but allows one to soak up all the emotions displayed in harmony with what should be a very frightening idea. The dead walk among us, and even though they refrain from drinking the life-giving blood directly from the host…they still have their fangs, and our blood is their drug.