Jim Jarmusch is the world’s greatest old kinda guy. In “Only Lovers Left Alive”, Jarmusch takes another look at the vampire myth, essentially writing a love letter to all those items and feelings that many people class as…vintage. Adam and Eve are two vampires, still in love after countless years. They have been together for centuries, though they manage to live apart as well. Adam lives in Detroit’s half dead industrial embrace, where he makes music inspired by the vibe of the local scene, while Eve lives in mystical Tangiers, discussing the arts with Christopher Marlow, the nameless figure behind Shakespeare’s work.
Eve manages to catch up to each age, to adapt and appreciate technology, to live each night in tranquility, at ease with the constant changes around her. Adam being the artist, is more sensitive and idiosyncratic and is constantly “bruised” by the unchecked violence of the real zombies around him, those being the humans. Both protagonists, though vampires, do not spill the blood of those around them, considering it “banal and so 15h century”. The live a lonely life, getting their blood fix through hospitals and contacts, respect nature and all creatures that live in it. When Adam’s depression becomes apparent to Eve, she crosses the Atlantic to find him. While there, her love, optimism and humor, help balance out her partner, but they are eventually in for a surprise: her younger sister, a wild youth who has been upsetting their lives for centuries, shows up on their doorstep one more time.
If there is something that is truly irresistible in the way Jarmusch approaches the centuries old vampiric myth, one of the greatest popular trends of recent times, then that can be found in Adam’s home, an antique shop full of nostalgia, from the sound of an old guitar, to the scratches emanating from an old record playing love songs. Determined not to give in to any notion of modernity or postmodernism, but sure in their belief that the world has forgotten the true value of a sonnet, of a rock song, or of a love that can last forever, the two lovers, played fantastically by Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton, are two symbols balancing between nostalgia and the true meaning of staying alive in the world you have chosen to love in. Which is exactly what Jarmusch, one of the most important American directors, has been doing for decades. With this, one of his most personal films he moves along to the rhythm of a love that by nature’s law can only exist and survive in the dark.