Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
United Kingdom/Germany/France/Cyprus/USA, 2013. Recorded Picture Company, Pandora Filmproduktion, Snow Wolf Produktion, Faliro House Productions, Le Pacte, HanWay Films, ARD Degeto Film, Lago Film, Neue Road Movies, Deutscher Filmforderfonds, Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein, Filmförderungsanstalt. Screenplay by Jim Jarmusch. Cinematography by Yorick Le Saux. Produced by Reinhard Brundig, Jeremy Thomas. Music by Jozef van Wissem. Production Design by Marco Bittner Rosser. Costume Design by Bina Daigeler. Film Editing by Affonso Goncalves. Cannes Film Festival 2013. Independent Spirit Awards 2014. Toronto International Film Festival 2013.
Jim Jarmusch laments the death of high culture with this deliciously funny foray into vampire fiction. Tom Hiddleston is an undead rocker who conceals himself from the fans he detests in a hovel of a Detroit apartment building. Tilda Swinton senses his despondency from her nest in Tangiers, and so abandons her centuries-old friend Christopher Marlowe (John Hurt) and flies to be at his side. They comfort and soothe each other well enough, drinking the blood that Hiddleston procures from a quirky medic (Jeffrey Wright) whom he visits after hours at his lab, but eventually Swinton’s little sister (Mia Wasikowska) shows up and threatens to ruin everything with her indulgent ways. The elder couple are proud of having entered the twenty-first century and left the brutal tactics of the past behind: they drink their blood from wine glasses and don’t hunt people like animals, but how long can they stay aloof when human beings are becoming so increasingly stupid? The lack of subtlety combined with the rich, perfectly directed visuals (every shot is masterfully conceived and controlled) and superb acting make for another classic in the great filmmaker’s oeuvre, Jarmusch’s jabs at the degraded state of the art showing his age to good effect but coming off not bitter but honest. The film retains enough humour and sexy chemistry between its performers (also including a terrific Anton Yelchin as Hiddleston’s only friend) to keep it buoyant even at its most critical (“Oh, I love Jack White!”)