Only Lovers

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What do you like to do on the weekend? Me, I like to make a nice breakfast, take some naps, sing a little off-key to the radio, and now and then put on a documentary or a movie. A few weekends ago I checked out one of the audio described DVDs from our library. It’s entitled Only Lovers Left Alive (DVD1180), and it was recommended to me by a coworker who described it as “what vampires do on a regular day.” So, yes, it is a vampire movie, but let me say that it is not your typical vampire movie. There are no vampiric wars, no excessive showboating of superhuman powers, and there are no scenes showing a vampire drinking blood from a human. Instead, much of the story focuses on the centuries-long romance between the two main characters who call themselves Adam and Eve.

Adam and Eve looking hip in shades.

Adam, played by Tom Hiddleston, lives in the wilderness of the crumbling city of Detroit, Michigan. In death as in life, Adam is a musician. He’s had lots of time to study different instruments, hone his skills, and meld together the different musical styles he’s encountered throughout the years. He’s also something of a scientist, a great admirer of mortals such as Darwin, Tesla, and Einstein. One of his hobbies is building things like security systems and generators from old spare parts. At the beginning of the film he is depressed to the point of suicidal, and it is because of this that Eve travels across the globe to see him.

Eve, played by the award-winning actress Tilda Swinton, has been living in Tangier, Morocco, where she regularly spends time with her friend and fellow-vampire, Christopher Marlowe (played by award-winning actor Ed Hurt). In contrast to Adam’s interest in music, Eve is a lover of words. Her bedroom is strewn with piles of books in multiple languages, and when she travels to America to be with Adam all that her luggage contains is books. Together, Adam and Eve have a comfortable familiarity with each other that is believable as something that has blossomed over hundreds of years. At one point, upon seeing an old black and white photo of them, Eve whispers, “Our third wedding. How young we look.”

One mesmerizing aspect of the movie is its music. The switching of the setting between Detroit and Tangier allows the film to contain the two vastly different sounds. The scenes in Detroit tend to contain grittier tunes from the band SQÜRL, whereas scenes in Tangier are mostly filled with the music of lute player Jozef Van Wissem.  I haven’t been able to stop thinking about Only Lovers Left Alive since I watched it, and I listen to the soundtrack daily.  If you think you’d enjoy a movie about a vampire couple on a regular day that’s filled with haunting music, I’d highly recommend it.