The Films of 2014: Only Lovers Left Alive

The vampires in Jim Jarmusch’s lovely, witty new film Only Lovers Left Alive are played by Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston, and I can’t imagine better casting; they’re lanky, pale, drawn, heroin-chic sexy.  As they’re realized within the film, their vampirism is almost incidental.  They could be one of any number of burned-out ex-hippie or post-punk couples, waxing nostalgic for the days when music really rocked and “the good stuff”—whether blood or drugs—was easier to come by.  Driving through a haunted, decaying Detroit, they lament what the “zombies” (their word for bourgeois mortals) have done to the city, the world, and the arts.  Adam (Hiddleston), a moody, reclusive rock musician with the sensibility of a Romantic poet, flirts with suicide until Eve (Swinton) convinces him to take a night flight with her to Tangiers, where she shows him that there are still things to live for—new music to discover, new art to create, fresh blood to feed upon.  Only Lovers Left Alive is a movie for people who, like Jarmusch’s vampires, fetishize old and beautiful things. 

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