Jim Jarmusch's "Only Lovers Left Alive" is the New York director's best film in a long time. When he's good, he's very very good, but some of his work can feel indulgent and thin (see "Limits of Control"). But this super-cool vampire romance hits on all cylinders. (It's at 73 on Metacritic.)
"Only Lovers Left Alive" stars Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton as exquisitely cool ancient vampires still in love after centuries--perhaps because they live on different continents. He morosely cruises the ghostly streets of a ruined, deserted Detroit (an inspired location), creates lush electronic music and collects vintage instruments provided by his discreet local dealer (Anton Yelchin). She roams the narrow lanes of Tangier to meet her beloved quality blood supplier (John Hurt). She finally pays her lover a visit in Detroit, where they are joined for a time by her mischievous sister (Mia Wasikowska). In this must-see romance, Jarmusch combines many of the things he adores (actors, music, books, visuals) in one deliciously entertaining film.
The movie played well at Cannes in May 2013 and went on to play the global festival circuit, from Toronto and New York to SXSW, where Swinton gave a talk, but is at long last opening April 11 via Sony Pictures Classics. (See the Cannes press conference video and trailer below.)
Ohio-born Jarmusch pushed "Only Lovers Left Alive" up the hill for seven years (at one point Michael Fassbender was attached) and both Swinton and John Hurt stuck with the project, which was finally funded in the U.K., France, Cyprus and Germany at $7 million. "It took a very, very long time," Jarmusch said, "and it’s getting more and more difficult for films that are maybe a little unusual or maybe not predictable or not satisfying people’s expectations of something -- which is the beauty of cinema: discovering new things of all forms."