Vampire Adam resides in a derelict part of Detroit, producing music and mourning the state of the world under the “zombies” (humans). In Tangier, his lover, Eve, lives in a certain pleasure, indulging in literature, along with their friend Christopher Marlowe, who faked his death centuries before. They pay doctors for pure, clean blood because the supply directly from humans is too corrupted by disease and toxins to consume.
Adam’s melancholia is offset by Eve’s attempts to enthuse him, feeding his spirit as blood feeds his body. But Jarmusch draws an aesthetic from this frustrated nostalgia. The elegiacally shot locales of post-industrial Detroit and the decaying dust of Tangier accenting the shades of angst: the swirl of vinyl accompanying droning feedback; the murmurs of life echoed through narrow alleys.This hymn to despair is at the heart of Only lovers left alive, its cloistered harmonies reverberating in the hollow of anguish.