Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)


The crypto-vampire love drama, as Jim Jarmusch called it, has finally been realized. Jim had a clear vision of this film for a long time, however, as usual, he found himself in trouble with the financing of the film, so it took him as long as seven years to finally bring this project to life. Since he never made profitable films, he would often find himself in similar situations for the masses and was never mainstream. Such is the “glory” of independent production. Fortunately, despite all the problems he found himself in, Jim achieved his goal. The actors agreed to collaborate no matter what, and although Michael Fassbender was supposed to be in the original cast, he was replaced by Tom Hiddleston, who had long wanted to star in his film. The rest of the cast consists of Tilda Swinton, with whom he often collaborated, John Hurt, Mia Wasikowska and Anton Yelchin.

The film was shot in just a few weeks on as many as three continents. The story of immortal love between Adam and Eve, vampires who fight for survival in the 21st century. Eve lives in Tangier (Morocco), where another vampire, Marlowe, also lives and supplies her with blood. Adam lives in Detroit, and his supply provider is friend Ian who is not a vampire. Eva easily copes with life in the 21st century and modern technology, while Adam doesn’t. He is a rock star, a collector of antiques, historical objects and a passionate collector of vintage musical instruments. He spends his time composing and playing some of his instruments. He rarely leaves the house, and only at night when he goes to the nearby hospital to get blood supplies. He is often depressed, and during one such depressive crisis, Eve comes to visit him. Mia Wasikowska in the role of Ave, Iva’s sister, appears very little. Adam can’t stand her because of her wiggly nature, and when Ava comes to visit them in Detroit, Adam is afraid that because of her uncontrolled behavior, he could be discovered by people, or “zombies” as they often call them.

Jarmusch’s vision of a vampire couple is not cold-blooded antagonists but a lonely marginalized couple in an existential struggle in the 21st century. They don’t kill people because they are afraid of contaminated blood, they only go out for night rides around the city, and they spend most of their time at home playing chess and listening to music. They are a modern version of extremely intelligent and culturally sanctified vampires who often talk about art, science, music, drinking their dose of negative blood. Adam spoke a few times about Einstein’s theory of “spooky action at a distance” or “spooky entaglement”, which refers to the intertwining of two particles interconnected regardless of distance, if they are created in the same time and space and share a common existence.

Jarmusch symbolically represented this through the relationship between Adam and Eve. The atmosphere is in the spirit of a gloomy and melancholic mood, set in the modern Gothic era. The film is visually perfect as is the camera operation. Minimalism has always been Jarmusch’s style, and the motifs that are indispensable elements of his films are ubiquitous here as well, above all the symbolism that gives a much deeper meaning in most of his films, and in this case it really comes to the fore. Art in the full sense of the word, on stage and in the form of complete content.

The actors did a great job. Jarmusch is more a supporter of improvisation than strict discipline when shooting. The chemistry and the very depth of the relationship between Adam and Eve is phenomenal, with a subtle dose of passion without any pathos. Also, the choice of the main actor is a complete success! I must also mention a very important element of this film, and that is phenomenal music that fits perfectly into the atmosphere of this film. Different variations of rock, Middle Eastern melodies, classical compositions, etc. Danish composer Josef van Misem and Jarmusch’s band Squrl played a big role in creating the music for this film.

I enjoyed every minute of this film, I would say, with a visual-auditory hypnotic effect. I may be too subjective because Jim is in the top three of my favorite directors, but without thinking my grade will be ten.