ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE directed by Jim Jarmusch (UK / Germany, 2013)
Adam and Eve (Tom Hiddleson & Tilda Swinton) must be the coolest vampires ever to haunt the big screen.
They look so perfect together – an Emo Goth and an ice maiden, black on white.
A still of them lying naked together is so faultless it looks suspiciously like it’s been photo-shopped but who cares?
As an ageless undead couple they are resigned to living by night; wearing shades to protect their eyes from the glare of moonlight.
They worship outsider rock music and cult literature. A wall full of portraits identifies their heroes, ranging from Joe Strummer to Edgar Allan Poe; from Iggy Pop to Oscar Wilde. Good also to see a pristine paperback of David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest alongside dusty tomes of Verlaine, Baudelaire & Shelley.
They do not prey on the living but get their fix from a hospital blood bank or trusted contacts. They sip from wine glasses rather than suck from victim’s necks.
Adam spends his time making music on resolutely analogue recording equipment. His blues music is in the form of slo-mo metal drones. He and Eve are too cool for digital; the only concession to the modern age is her Apple phone.
The action is divided between Detroit (where Adam lives) and Tangier where John Hurt as Marlowe writes plays that will come to be attributed to William Shakespeare.
The look and pacing of Jarmusch movies has always been second to none. Character and mood is more important than plot. Here he pays homage to the horror genre without reverting to clichés; taking for granted that the audience already knows how the undead live.
This is Twilight for grown-ups and a magnificent movie.