One of the genuine highlights of working the festival circuit is that every once in a while you come across the kind of film that makes you want to cross the date off on your calendar months later just so you can see it again. "Only Lovers Left Alive" is an epic reinvention of the vampire tale that is moving exactly as fast and as deliberate as you'd expect a story of this nature to be, allowing us to bask in every glorious moment.
"Only Lovers Left Alive" brings us to a reclusive rock star Adam (Tom Hiddleston) who happens to be a centuries old vampire. His nocturnal isolation is constantly disturbed by adoring fans preventing him from simply playing and recording his music resulting in a depression that is producing far too many funeral marches. Eve (Tilda Swinton) is his lady love and travels halfway across the globe to be by his side to shake him out of his funk on the outskirts of Detroit. However fans are the least of their problems when Eve's irascible sister Ava (Mia Wasikowska) tracks them down and disturbs their peaceful existence.
While somewhat of a shift in tone for writer/director Jim Jarmusch this is very certainly his best outing since 1999's Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai. Capturing a distinct and very deliberate tone with his characters, the film is not in any rush to get anywhere, but it really isn't supposed to be with characters that have been alive for hundreds if not thousands of years. Shot in a glamorous and hazy glow, Jarmusch crafts this hazy rock and roll world that is simply a wash with music from this vibrant soundtrack. It is a hypnotic visual journey and Jarmusch with some wonderfully dense dialogue in this well written script guides the likes of Hiddleston and Swinton delivering some of the best performances of their careers as our guides and you'll want to get swept along for the ride as they grapple with and relish in the realities of there situation.
Tilda Swinton as our eponymous Eve is simply hypnotic as she hides from the world but still commands the screen all at the same time, her natural magnetism is simply a thing to behold as she allows us as the audience to wade into this world that these characters inhabit. As Adam, Tom Hiddleston is note for note the perfect partner on this ride as they are both hopelessly dower but also hopelessly devoted to one another as well. Mia Wasikowska shatters their serenity as Eve's crazy sister Ava who doesn't want to hide from the world like they do, but instead run free like the wind. All three actors create this crazy world and take us threw it step by step, making sure we drink in every single step. John Hurt, Anton Yelchin and Jeffrey Wright add some extra flavor but it's all about Swinton and Hiddleston as they make the vampire a very quiet and secretive bohemian creature that struggles with their need for blood rather than romanticize it or make it sparkly.
Easily one of the best of Jarmusch's career as he takes us on one of the more memorable rides in recent memory that adds up to one of the best movies of the year.
5 out of 5 stars.
"Only Lovers Left Alive" opens in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver tomorrow, please check with local listings for show times.