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I just had the extreme pleasure of watching two of my favorite actors portray stylish, hipster vampires in Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive on Blu-ray. Heavy with a lush visual and musical atmosphere, each scene in the film is worth pausing just to take it all in.
Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston (whom together I henceforth dub “Swiddleston”) respectively play Eve and Adam, vampires married to one another thrice in their many centuries of afterlife.
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Adam, living in Detroit and dismayed by the “zombies” that comprise humanity with their carelessness for the planet and each other, considers ending his existence. The music he makes, a huge hit in the underground scene, is no longer enough to tether this Byron-esque being to the land of the undead.
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Across the globe, rests the stunning Eve in repose. After the couple converses via Adam’s homemade videophone, Eve senses her mate’s brooding has become more macabre than artistically mercurial. She begins to pack her most precious possessions, her books, for the long journey to see him.
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One plane ride, in which Eve must cull her desire to give into the temptation of a fellow passenger’s papercut, and thousands of miles later, the lovers are once again inhabiting the same space.
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They catch up on their not-quite lives apart, and Eve reminds Adam of how much music really means to him (while gently suggesting he obtain a house robe from the current century).
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Their newly formed bubble quickly bursts when Eve’s kid sister Ava (Mia Wasikowska) drops by, mooching off their short supply of sustenance and pestering them into partying.
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Everyone wears their sunglasses at night, and Adam’s only friend, Ian (Anton Yelchin), the one zombie he’ll mildly tolerate in his life, tags along. Ava rocks a Pucci-type print while rockin’ out.
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Swiddleston, er, Adam and Eve hang back in the crowd, and reluctantly allow Ian back to the house to chill out at Ava’s insistence.
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Turns out, Adam was right to be wary and cold toward his careless sister-in-law. After she drinks Ian, she’s tossed out into the night and back to L.A. (“Zombie Central”), leaving the lovers to clean up her mess. Ian’s demise shortly after being seen in public with the vampire crew forces Adam to skip town with Eve, who suggests they go to roost at her place in Tangier.
This time, the plane ride is less lonely.
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Back in Eve’s neighborhood, the vampires are tired and very, very thirsty. It’s vital they get some fluids, and “the good stuff,” meaning untainted blood, is hard to find. Eve hopes to get some from her longtime pal, Christopher Marlowe, but he’s ingested a bad batch of blood and is withering away. We’re sad for a bit as Eve loses Marlowe, a dear friend with whom she shared witty, Shakespeare-teasing banter.
The future is looking grim for Adam and Eve, in a desert without a drop to drink. Their dietary preferences prohibit drinking from live humans, and so they wander the streets, trying to figure out a plan. Eve decides that if this is to be the end for her and Adam, she’s going to buy him the finest instrument she can find, which Adam graciously accepts. As the pair sit down to rest on an empty street, perhaps beginning to accept their fate, a man and a woman stumble into their sights.
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Seeing the young couple, Adam and Eve decide to forgo their misgivings, have a meal, and turn the lovers…leaving them, of course, alive.
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Have you seen Only Lovers Left Alive? What’s your favorite scene from the film, and also, can we make Swiddleston a thing?