Upon hearing about another feature film delving into the tired theme of vampires, you could not be blamed for rolling your eyes and expecting the worst. However, innovative filmmaker Jim Jarmusch ensures he doesn’t abide by stereotypes, instead presenting a hugely memorable picture that parodies the genre somewhat, and yet feels completely unique in its own right, with the potential to gain something of a cult following for its efforts.
What also helps matters, is the inclusion of Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton, who play vampires Adam and Eve, respectively. The couple have been romantically entwined for centuries, however the former is left to question his existence and the state of mankind, as his introverted lifestyle gets the better of him, with only his musical ability keeping him sane. As a result, Eve leaves Morocco to visit her lover, and the pair reignite their fondness for life and one another, drinking copious amounts of human blood in the process. But they soon find themselves put to the test when Eve’s younger sister Ava (Mia Wasikowska) comes to stay.
Only Lovers Left Alive is a darkly comic piece, with much of the humour deriving from the normalisation of the vampires. They’re so nonchalant about being different and having lived for centuries, and their monotonous nature makes for a captivating watch, and ensuring they remain relatable at all times. The way they are integrated into human society is masterful, as their image is that of gothic rockstars, encapsulating exactly what vampires would and should be like if they were to genuinely exist, as their guitar cases almost resemble coffins.
Another joke that’s not quite so ingenious, is the constant references to the characters’ ages and how they were friends with some of the most significant, renowned historical figures of all time, like William Shakespeare, for instance. It feels a little contrived at times and like easy territory. Nonetheless, the casting is absolutely spot on too, as both Hiddleston and Swinton are not only immensely talented, but are physically perfect for the roles at hand, as this flick ensures that there’s still life in the old vampire genre yet.