Only Lovers Left Alive

Format Reviewed: Blu-Ray

CrownJules Concludes:

5 out of 5 Stars
The most beautiful relationship ever portrayed on screen.


This is a story about vampires.  BUT for the most part, that’s besides the point.  What this really is, is a story about a married couple.  Two people who have been together for centuries, who have the most successful and beautiful relationship that I have ever seen on film.  Tom Hiddleston is Adam, and Tilda Swinton is Eve.  We don’t know exactly how old these two are, but they’re old enough to have the deepest knowledge of history, science, literature and popular culture.

Their knowledge is both broad, and highly specific, and each have a particular talent; they both refer to plants and animals by their Latin names, Adam is a reclusive but highly successful musician and scientist in his own right.  Eve is an extensive reader of literature, and has the ability to specifically date any object she touches.

Their mutual friend Christopher Marlowe (THE Christopher Marlowe – played by John Hurt) has been continuing to write prolifically and publishing under pseudonyms throughout the centuries, including (SPOILER ALERT!) William Shakespeare.  Adam gave Schubert some of his works, and is currently writing slow emotive rock music in his incredibly messy studio/apartment.  Some of Adam’s music gets out into the world via his only friend Ian (Anton Yelchin), a human (or Zombie, as Adam calls the humans).  Eve spends her time learning all about the world and appears to appreciate and revel in the beauty of everything the world has to offer, natural and man-made.

One of my most favourite parts of this movie is fairly unimportant in terms of the overall plot, it simply highlights how learned Adam is: he has invented a completely unique form of energy generation – harnessing cosmic rays – and he simply uses it to power his recording equipment, and his car!

Adam is grumpy and melancholy.  Eve is optimistic and appreciative.  They’re married but they generally don’t live together, so when Adam feels low, Eve travels half way around the world to Detroit to see him.  It is plain to see how deeply these two characters understand one another.  They don’t always agree, but they have great respect for the others’ point of view.  So when Eve’s sister Ava (Mia Wasikowska) shows up out of the blue, their harmonious existence is disrupted.

The subtle and nuanced performances by Hiddleston and Swinton are perfect, supported beautifully by Hurt, Yelchin and Wasikowska.

The soundtrack to this movie is equally perfect.  Adam’s current rock compositions are the work of Director Jim Jarmusch’s band SQÜRL, and reflect the melancholy and introspective mindset of the Adam character; acoustic tracks by Jozef van Wissem; and showcasing a fantastic Lebanese artist Yasmine Hamdan.

Repeat viewings of this movie reveal layer upon layer of treats, secrets and hidden gems.  It was released independently in 2013, but on Blu-ray it’s my favourite film of 2014.

I only have one teeny tiny nitpick, which is a line towards the end of the movie claiming that quantum theory “…isn’t a theory, it’s proven”.  I have a science background therefore I have to correct this little statement!  You test an hypothesis to PROVE a theory.  It only becomes an actual theory after it has been proven.  Theory = Fact.  It’s the smallest of small things, but I’m a perfectionist!

Long story short: this movie is brilliant.  Go and find a copy and watch it yourself.