Also natural: Swinton playing a vampire. I knew Only Lovers Left Alive was about vampires even though the movie doesn't say so upfront, but even if I hadn't, I think Swinton's presence would have created that suspicion, despite a lack of vampire roles on her CV (witches, yes, but no vamps). Really, it makes just as much sense to assume she's playing a vampire in the opening moments of any movie she appears in unless we're told otherwise. The surprise in Lovers is that Swinton is the more playful, easygoing of the two; it's Hiddleston who mopes about and barricades himself in his Detroit home, rigging weird gadgets to do the work of everyday technology (his videochat comes through on an old CRT television). The Detroit of this movie is perfectly post-haunted; the real horror movie has come and gone.
Hiddleston's character makes music; he has through the ages, and currently occupies himself composing dirge-y guitar instrumentals that Jarmusch apparently believes could easily become the toast of the underground-rock scene; none of Hiddleston's fans ever says hey, wait a tic, this sounds just like a clanging score to a Jim Jarmusch movie! If the music feels off, though, the movie's portrait of forever-aging, never-dying eternal hipsters feels hilariously accurate, with all of humanity (slang nickname: "zombies") standing in for the uncool kids. Just when the movie seems like it may turn too languorous for its own good, Mia Wasikowska livens things up as Swinton's irresponsible sister, messing with their stability (young people ruin everything!). It goes on a little long for its modest aims, but Only Lovers Left Alive is Jarmusch's drollest movie in a decade or so (probably since Coffee and Cigarettes). The only major drawback: David Bowie should be in here somewhere, don't you think?