Saturday, 15 June 2013
Dead Man 
In Dead Man Jim Jarmusch meditated on the nature, philosophy and popular perceptions associated with the Wild West, while also deconstructing its archetypal tropes. He used the format to compose a lyrical tone poem, to cheekily subvert its conventions and myths, and to use the canvas for his wryly humorous, absurdist, idiosyncratic and existentialist musings. The film begins with William Blake (Johnny Depp), a soft-natured accountant, arriving at the grimy frontier town of Machine in order to join the firm where he has been offered a job, only to find that it has been offered to someone else by its grotesque owner Dickinson (Robert Mitchum in his final role). With hopes dashed and pockets empty, he gets drunk with his last few cents and spends the night with a former hooker (Mili Avital). When her ex-boyfriend (Gabriel Byrne), who also happens to be Dickinson’s son, arrives unexpectedly, shootings result, and the bemused Blake suddenly finds himself an outlaw on the run with a fat reward on his head, three vicious hired guns on his tail, and a bullet lodged close to his heart. He gets an unlikely friend in the form of a deadpan poetry-reading Native American aptly called Nobody (Gary Farmer) who, ironically, mistakes him for the legendary poet he shares his name with. Blake, interestingly, began his odyssey as an outsider – he didn’t just look out of place but even anachronistic, as if transported to a different era altogether; but by the time it came to a close, he had become the fastest draw in the West. The luscious B/W photography and the haunting guitar riffs by Neil Young added a deeply resonating touch to it.
Director: Jim Jarmusch
Genre: Western/Revisionist Western/Psychological Western