Jim Jarmusch resuscitates Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston in this glacial tale of undying love. Hiddleston is Adam, a sultry, mourning hermit who spends his nights and days in his overgrown Detroit apartment. Swinton is his Eve, literally, a porcelain wife who spends her time in Tangier, feasting on its culture and high quality blood.
A result of years of resentment for the wasted lives of humans or “zombies,” Adam has sunk into depression, enveloping himself in treasures from his past, namely music and guitars. Eve’s concern surpasses her joy for her surroundings, and several night flights later the pair are reunited.
Jarmusch examines vampire mythology more as a cultural reality than the fantastical portrayals that have arrived on the big screen over the years. Adam and Eve are respectful citizens with a safe and harmless means of obtaining blood. Adam’s reclusiveness and Eve’s thirst for knowledge are relatable traits and, aside from a selective lifestyle and pale complexion, they appear more as secretive civilians than creatures of the undead.
The exception comes in Eve’s younger sister Ava, played by an erratic Mia Wasikowka. Tireless, uncontrollable and hungry, Ava is the threat that can unravel the years of patient existence that Adam and Eve have built together. Because of this she is the most fun to watch; reckless and selfish and then gone all too soon. Anton Yelchin also brings much needed lightness to the pair’s peaceful life as a doting roadie character, skirting adoringly around Adam’s musical talents and restoring a little faith in the living.
The love that locks Adam and Eve in eternal matrimony is hugely convincing, with each fulfilling what the other is missing. At just over two hours in total however the film’s central theme becomes a little tiresome, with indulgent sequences that bloat and pull at being repetitive. The intensity of the relationship, though impressive, lingers for too long with the pair responding more to external threats than any inner conflict. A good fight is needed and it’s not to be found.
Not to be confused as a film about feasting on human blood, this is an interesting look at eternal, nocturnal existence and its burdens. Jarmush ensures that this story, although slow, looks fantastic with oppressive interiors and sickly lighting, creating a dreamlike quality to his characters. Swinton is certainly hypnotic in manner and Hiddleston is as appealing, channelling a Jared Leto, Brandon Lee-esque level of angst. As the couple contemplate their survival in the final scenes there is a want for them to succeed. This may cement them as a sort of Bonnie and Clyde though minus the frantic appeal, which for a pair of predators is essential.