The tale of two centuries-old vampire lovers living in desolate areas, Detroit and Tangier, reuniting and rekindling their love at a time of growing depression at the state of humanity.
Trying to bog down a Jarmusch film to its plot almost seems beside the point. The best Jarmusch films are about people and relationships. Such is the case in Jarmusch’s “Only Lovers Left Alive,“ a story about lovers lifting each other up at their most vulnerable and depressed. It’s a film about time catching up to you and society degrading before your eyes; it’s also a film about how time always catches up with you and society is always degrading.
The fact that this is about vampires almost feels like a gimmick– a well used one and an excuse to make comments about love and society from the perspective of people who’ve been together for centuries, but a gimmick nonetheless.
Tim Hiddleston plays Adam, an underground musician recluse who spends his days seeking out the most exclusive and rarest of guitars. Tilda Swinton plays Eve, an enigmatic and patient woman obsessive over books. When they’re together, they feel like a couple that’s been married for a long time and understand each other perfectly (they’ve been married centuries actually). The chemistry between these two makes the film fun to watch and by the time Eva (Mia Wasikowska), Eve’s hothead, annoying younger sister, shows up to cause chaos, you’re so invested in their relationship that it becomes like watching a great couple now become parents to a bratty child.
“Only Lovers Left Alive” is a good film about a good relationship; it’s a “Before Sunrise” about an immortal couple. There are times when the movie is too slow and stags a bit, but ultimately you’re watching a story about people who’ve seen it all and have grown bored; now all they have is each other.
Only Lovers Left Alive opens today in select theaters.