Only Lovers Left Alive Blu-ray Review

Vampires have run the gamut in movies and television. At first they were something to be feared in the Dracula films. Then you had them sexualized in television shows like “True Blood”. Let’s not forget the teen angst angle explored by the Twilight series. Of course comedy was mined by the likes of Mel Brooks and the team of Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer. ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE explores the life between two vampire lovers. It is a beautiful movie that might turn off some because of the lack of action in it.

Tom Hiddleston plays Adam, a musician who loves his privacy. He lives in a messy house in Detroit, but he instinctively knows where everything is. He also is a vampire and he plays it to the hilt. He dresses in dark clothing and is quite brooding. Sunglasses are worn to hide his haunting and seductive eyes. His contact to the outside world is his assistant Ian (Anton Yelchin). Ian brings him various old guitars and such. He also handles his music. Ian is generously rewarded by Adam for his work. Ian though does get frustrated by Adam’s reluctance to share his music to the world.

Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston in Only Lovers Left Alive

Adam though is feeling down by the drudgery of his existence. He has a routine of getting blood from a doctor for cash payment. There is some small talk between the two men, but Adam usually just wants to get the blood and get out. Adam doesn’t have much respect for regular human beings. He calls them zombies. He doesn’t have respect for their ways and their thought process. Adam’s depression is so deep that he tells Ian to get him one single wooden bullet. Detroit is an interesting setting here. It once was a vibrant city full of life, but now it has hit hard times with abandoned buildings and high crime. It suits the mood of Adam where it doesn’t like what he sees. He though thinks there will be revival some day, but not soon enough for his liking.

Adam’s wife Eve (the luminescent Tilda Swinton) lives in Tangier, but seems a bit bored with her life. She does visit quite often with her good friend Christopher Marlowe (John Hurt). Yes that Christopher Marlowe. In this world Marlowe did not in fact die in 1593, but lived on and wrote the plays that are credited to William Shakespeare. Many people actually do subscribe to this theory. Some of the more humorous moments are when Marlowe scoffs at Shakespeare and his work. Eve actually wants to put it out that Marlowe was the actual author, but he will have none of that.

Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston in Only Lovers Left Alive

After Eve talks to Adam over the phone, she senses there is something wrong. So she flies out to Detroit to be with her husband. He bemoans the plight of the zombies. He hates what they have done to scientists such as Darwin, Galileo, Newton, Tesla, etc. Eve gets a bit frightened of Adam’s mental state when she finds the bullet. Their lives get even trickier when Eve’s sister Ava (Mia Wasikowska) strolls into town. Ava is what you would call a reckless vampire. She wants what she wants know no matter the consequences. Both Adam and Eve are concerned about her presence and her nature.

Director/Screenwriter Jim Jarmusch has created a rich world where vampires hide in the shadows, but you kinda know that they are out there. The key to Jarmusch is subtlety. It is these little moments that I love. When Eve is flying to Detroit, she spots a man who cuts his finger. The blood oozes on to a napkin. Jarmusch focuses the camera on Eve as she stifles the urge to jump to his seat and lap up the blood. It’s a short scene, but quite effective.

Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston in Only Lovers Left Alive

Jarmusch also does a nice job of incorporating music into the movie. There are a couple of scenes where the vampires are drinking blood. Jarmusch doesn’t have any dialogue, but just shows them in utter ecstasy as they get their nourishment with the haunting music in the background.
ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE is a lovely romantic film that just happens to feature vampires. It grabs you at the way these two people look at each other and converse with one another. It is surprising how much you will be taken in by such a simple story of two people in love.


Video: This is a nice movie to look at. The dark reds and blacks stand out on the screen.

Audio: I did have some trouble with the dialogue. It did seem it was too low at times where it was hard to pick up.

Traveling at Night with Jim Jarmusch (49:23): This is a short film by Lea Rinaldi. You get to see how several scenes get developed. You glimpse into the creative process of Jarmusch as he interacts with the actors and his film crew. This is a fascinating piece on how the scenes get shaped.

Yasmin Hamdan “Hal” Music Video (4:50)

Deleted & Extended Scenes (26:22): Some of the scenes are just shot differently or with different music. You also see the scenes lengthened to give more context. There are also scenes that weren’t in the film at all. I don’t think any of the deleted scenes were missed in any way.


Theatrical Trailer


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