Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai
Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai: Reviewing Ghost Dog for the New York Times, critic A.O. Scott described the film as "drenched in blood and saturated in ambiguity." One of the director's most fascinating and soulful films, Ghost Dog finds Jarmusch playing once more with genre—in this case, the hitman movie. Or is he is playing with the tropes of the classic samurai film? If so, the world of the samurai is of a particular post-punk variant. Forrest Whitaker's world-weary hitman hews to the Japanese code of the samurai which is not only referenced in the on-screen quotes from Yamamoto Tsunetomo's book of sayings, Hagakure, but also in the samples found in RZA's soundtrack. Ghost Dog co-stars Isaach De Bankolé, making his second appearance in a Jarmusch film, as a Haitian ice cream seller who is the hitman's best friend. In a typical Jarmusch touch, De Bankolé's character speaks no English while Whitaker's speaks no French. Still, in a movie about honor and codes of conduct governed by social orders and tradition, theirs is the friendship that endures.