All the right ingredients are here to make this film a major accomplishment in american cinema. Beyond its beautiful cinematography (Wender's usual DP Robby Muller) and Neil Young's lysergically on point soundtrack, Dead Man has interesting layers that include the non glorified depiction of gun violence, being a western with a native american perspective and challenging the foundational myth of the US. Must see.
Jarmusch's best film, or just his most robustly plotted? Compared to Down By Law, this is an action movie, but Jarmusch stays an ideal observer of the USA, focusing not on landmarks or vistas but the view from the ground. This is one of his funniest and most propulsively entertaining, a Western parody and allegory where modern commerce and age-old spirituality both seem to sprout naturally from the American soil.
I liked his first film a lot, but I quickly grew disenchanted with him. This one is not bad. I loved Nobody. I consider it a bad sign when 'King-of-cool' or 'hip cast' are used in the description. I don'always t like cool, except for Steve McQueen and Paul Newman, and I hate the whole concept of hip. Hip usually means pretentious nonsense. Some of the violent bits could have been edited out.
Bob and Harvey Weinstein bought this film sight unseen thinking that a Western directed by Jim Jarmusch and starring Johnny Depp would kill in every demographic. When they realized what they had they didn't know what to do with it so they dumped it. Which is a damn shame because this one of the most beautiful and spiritual Westerns ever made. Which shows Johnny Depp can do a good Western.
I can't help but find Jarmusch's technique fascinating. The western revisionism here produces a great cultural testament to Native Americans, a rarity for the silver screen. Neil Young's improvised soundtrack mixed with Johnny Depp reading the poetry of William Blake adds color to the stark black-and-white images.
Look out the window. And doesn't this remind you of when you were in the boat, and then later that night, you were lying, looking up at the ceiling, and the water in your head was not dissimilar from the landscape, and you think to yourself, "Why is it that the landscape is moving, but the boat is still?"
This film is incredible, i can deffinitely see the Ozu influence. Jarmusch creates his own vision of the western with impeccable efficiency and grace. Surreal and fascinating, dead man is one of the peaks in creativity of 90's independent american cinema and one of Johnny Depp's greatest performances.