Another vampire movie? You betcha.
Jim Jarmusch’s (Dead Man, Broken Flowers) vision is so seeped in satire towards pop culture and consumerism that vampires are the only feasible creature to portray the opulence and greed that is intrinsic to the modern ‘hipster’ lifestyle. It becomes apparent Jarmusch is suggesting that the notion that modern hipsters are sucking the importance out of culture is a sham and that over-cultured, over-sexed and over-achieving assholes have always existed. And considering Jarmusch is a demi-god in the eyes of the hipster, this realisation is handled with delicious cheek. Tilda Swinton may very well be for hipsters what Madonna is for gay men and is perfect as Eve, a world-travelling linguaphile residing in Morocco, who is encouraged by the similarly academic Marlowe (John Hurt, naturally) to visit her husband, Detroit-dwelling Adam (Tom Hiddleston, Loki from The Avengers). While ancient, Adam and Eve’s relationship is completely modern, as Adam’s sullen broodiness is (somewhat) quashed by his reunion with his beloved. Hiddleston is captivating as a mysteriously prodigious rock musician trying to avoid mainstream popularity (which lends more than a nod to Anne Rice’s Lestat in Queen of the Damned) and his ambient tracks serve as much of the film’s excellent score. Although up against arguably two of Hollywood’s finest leads, Mia Wasikowksa holds her own as Eve’s bratty sister Ava, playing against type as a hyperactive kid-vamp who is a mix between the drunkest hot girl at the party and a blood-sucking Veruca Salt. Like all good hipster movies, the journey is more important than the destination. As the film plods along, there is so much to enjoy visually and conceptually that you don’t even care if they never get their fangs out. Feeding sequences that make the vamps look like Trainspotting junkies, quips about the happy days of plagues and crusades, the eternal quest for the “good stuff”, the fear of disease and a superior outlook compared to all the human “zombies” helps push Jarmusch’s cleverly-crafted parallels, implying that the changes to our culture over the centuries may have been more superficial than we first thought. Yet, perhaps the most important thing to take from Only Lovers Left Alive is that within all the vapid consumerism, vanity and pride, love is still (sort of) alive and well. And, quite frankly, immortal.