director Jim Jarmusch
Jim Jarmusch’s vampire movie, Only Lovers Left Alive, takes a spin on vampire mythos through a typically Jarmuschian lens. The age old vampires here are Tilda Swinton with long, tangled locks, sexy beast Tom Hiddlston looking pure rock star, elder statesman John Hurt is Christopher Marlowe (yes, that Christopher Marlowe), and Mia Wasikowska as eternally precocious vixen. They live by night, of course, have lived for centuries. Hiddleston in a derelict district of Detroit, Hurt and Swinton in Tangier.
The are aged, ageless hipsters, not the shallow ones that everyone disdains, but the old school hipsters who don’t go out anymore because it’s too much effort and too much the same. They stay cloistered with their aging analog technologies. They can stroke an object and tell its place and date of creation. To them, non-vampires are “zombies,” you know, wannabes, poseurs, humanity.
Hiddleston’s Adam and Swinton’s Eve are old souls, still much in love, though growing so tired of living. It’s tedious, you know. Swinton flies to Detroit to meet her man. But the trouble arises when Ava shows up. She’s still a party animal, likes the nightlife, loves to boogie, drinks way too much blood.
Acquiring the liquid of life is typically done through underground connections at hospitals, to ensure purity. People aren’t usually preyed upon. And blood is somewhat like heroin, though the effect is brief and also nourishing. Most blood is tainted these days, you know.
I actually enjoyed the movie more than many of Jarmusch’s more recent films. It’s been described as “languid” and “droll”, which are both apt adjectives. These vampires are hipsters, but original hipsters, the artists, the rock stars, the people who knew all the “great ones” in their day. And wouldn’t it be great if we all looked so well as we aged and rued the changes in the world.