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The Travelers Guide to Jim Jarmusch

Posted March 24, 2009 to photo album "The Travelers Guide to Jim Jarmusch"

Permanent Vacation
Stranger than Paradise
Down by Law
Mystery Train
Night on Earth
Dead Man
Year of the Horse
Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai
Coffee and Cigarettes
Broken Flowers
Dead Man

Dead Man

Dead Man: Unlike his five previous features, in Dead Man there was no episodic construction, no multiple storylines, and no exploration of contemporary subcultures. Dead Man was Jarmusch's try at the ultimate American genre picture: the Western.  However, in the director's hands the film is less a tale of frontier heroism or law-of-the-land justice and more an existential meditation on death and dying. In Dead Man, Johnny Depp plays William Blake, a man arriving in town by train for a new job. The job dematerializes, however, and, after several odd encounters, Blake is shot in the chest. With blood slowly seeping from his wound, Blake meets Nobody, a Native American who escorts him to the coast where he finally passes away. With a ragged, improvised electric guitar score by Neil Young, evocative black-and-white photography by Müller, and a searching, poetic grappling with timeless metaphysical issues, Dead Man was, for critic Jonathan Rosenbaum, the ultimate "acid Western," the culmination of a line of movies ranging from Monte Hellman's The Shootist and Dennis Hopper's The Last Movie. He wrote, "Yet in some ways Dead Man goes beyond all of them in formulating a chilling, savage frontier poetry to justify its hallucinated agenda—a view at once clear-eyed and visionary, exalted and laconic, moral and unsentimental, witty and beautiful, frightening and placid. Turning the usual priorities of the western inside out to show us where we are today, Dead Man is as exciting and as important as any new American movie I've seen in the 90s."