I am afraid I am pretty closed-minded when it comes to movie vampires. For me, film vampires are almost entirely Dracula and his wives and victims and Dracula is, primarily, Bella Lugosi and, secondarily, Christopher Lee. (The exception that proves the rule is the fine 2008 Swedish film “Let the Right One In.”) Still, I liked Jim Jarmusch’s early film “Stranger than Paradise” so, when I heard he had broken into the vampire genre with” Only Lovers Left Alive,” I thought I would take it in.
The lovers are actually a married vampire couple. Adam (Tom Hiddleston) is a composer of haunting, minimalist rock music who eschews fame and has a very low opinion of non-vampires (called zombies in this film) who he thinks are making a mess of things. When we meet him, he is living reclusively in the decaying urban wilderness of Detroit. His wife, Eve (Tilda Swinton) lives in a sun-drenched and vibrant–if also morally decadent– Tangiers Tilda Swinton looks like she could be any age except very young and very old which gives her character a proper timeless quality. Eve, like Adam. is both a haute bohemian and an aesthete, but she tends to put things in perspective and so lacks his sense of despair, She is, at the same time, a very wifely wife.. She is also friends with the playwright turned vampire Christopher Marlowe (John Hurt). Responding to Adam’s need, Eve leaves Tangiers and joins him in Detroit.
In case it is not clear from the above description, the film is essentially a comedy, the brand of humor being absurdist, dry, and deadpan. Mr. Jarmusch does not try to make a horror movie and this is probably the result of a wise recognition on his part of the range of his own sensibility. There are no quick cuts and the pacing is the opposite of fast .If you like the ironic Jarmuschian style, you will like this flick. I did.