This film is a marvel of style. This is how we could summarize it in one sentence.
This film is about a couple of vampires and plays with the codes of the genre. But in reality, it is rather a film about two artists, highly educated, who have the look back on humanity or the “zombies” as they call them.
As always, the music is very important in this new film by Jim Jarmusch and is a key element of the film. From the first shot we understand the true subject of it: the music plays while the stars turn to the same rhythm of a record player.
Indeed, the directing is very interesting. Many stylistic effects are used like superposed images that are often used in other films from this director. The camera is often placed far from the actors hidden behind decorative elements ( sometimes on top of a staircase, sometimes behind a wall ) which gives a feeling of stealing intimate moments from these intriguing creatures that are Adam (Tom Hiddleston ) and Eve ( Tilda Swinton ) .
The actors are also perfect and crazy charismatic. Even Mia Wasikowska interpreting the spoiled little rotten sister Ava that comes and mess everything up is great. They are so attractive that we want to see them evolve in their lives, we want to observe them. We should also mention John Hurt who plays Christopher Marlowe (yes he is a vampire too!) which is always a pleasure to see on screen.
There are many cultural references, musical of course, but also scientific, also from Hamlet and the works by Marlowe … and this is much more subtle than in “Nymphomaniac” which was released recently. The film is timeless, located in Detroit decor ghost city or decrepit streets of Tangier. These vampires from another time live between modernity and junk accumulated through the years. The product placements brings us back to reality and shows us the times in which the plot unfolds (Eve has an iPhone, YouTube is mentioned by Adam and Ava). Product placement is including in the story but yet still a bit disturbing because it “pollutes” somewhat the impeccable aesthetics of the movie.
The screenplay is not very inventive in itself but holds its originality in these two main characters. Jim Jarmusch has managed to create some cool vampires (which is great when you come to think about the “Twilight” movies) and return to the romanticism that characterizes everything related to death in general. Finally, these vampires are almost humans, they have the same old couple discussions, and Adam has suicidal anxieties (to have hung out too much with Lord Byron, an old friend!).
These vampires are not depraved, cruel and bloodthirsty but witness a human kind that always repeats the same mistakes and dig their own grave. Through their knowledge, their wisdom, their experience and the fact that they don’t belong to the human race, one can take a look at what humanity really is.
The film is also very well supported by the music (of course this is the main theme of the film), it is simply brilliant. The atmosphere it brings to the film coupled with the great shots by Jim Jarmusch give a real captivating poetic, mystical atmosphere.
But like any movie that lies on the atmosphere, monotonous parts are to be expected. This is the great weakness of the movie, one must get embarked by the atmosphere and even when it does it still lacks of rhythm and sometimes you can get almost bored. Still, this film has a rare elegance. After all, humans like vampires, the same survival instinct drives us. Eve said, “I ‘m a survivor” and we, poor humans, we do the same, we survive but with much less class.