Only Lovers Left Alive | Film | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Only Lovers Left Alive

Jim Jarmusch's latest film is a tender romantic tweak of the vampire genre

Together, forever: Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston
Together, forever: Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston

In Jim Jarmusch's exquisitely filmed Only Lovers Left Alive, the otherwordly Tilda Swinton is a millennia-old vampire named Eve, and Tom Hiddleston is the centuries-old Adam, a reclusive musician and her husband of 148 years. They're deeply in love and deeply humane, buying their meals from blood banks rather than taking it from live victims. Their culture has evolved far beyond the "zombies" (i.e., humans), who are destroying the world because they fear their own imaginations, and who "will only figure it out when it's too late."

How do you keep love alive when you're dead? With a mutual passion for art, music, culture — and each other. When Eve's bratty sister (Mia Wasikowska) visits, she upsets their balance, especially when she zeroes in on Ian (Anton Yelchin), Adam's affable zombie factotum.

Who knew history's greatest scientists and artists — including the (finally) dying Christopher Marlowe (John Hurt) — were vampires? In the dryly witty world that Jarmusch creates, it only makes sense. Moving between Tangier and Detroit, Only Lovers is a tender romantic tweak of the genre. Turns out it's not eternity that depresses a vampire: It's having to share it with the culturally and environmentally suicidal zombies who run things, and who poison the blood they all need to stay alive.

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