22 July 2012 9:08 AM, PDT | JustPressPlay.net | See recent JustPressPlay news »

It's almost impossible not to know a Jim Jarmusch film the second you lay eyes on it; his sturdy compositions, dry interactions, and (typically) black and white cinematography make him distinctive in a way that's both easily identified and imitated. His style is so static that it'd probably be insufferable if not for the actors he chooses, and for the freedom that he gives them within the frame. There is no better example of this than Down By Law, his immediate follow-up to his breakthrough Stranger Than Paradise. Sophomore efforts are notoriously tricky, but Down is even stronger than Stranger; livelier, more exciting, and noticeably more warm-blooded. Where other directors might have smothered the film under their stylistic graces, Jarmusch refines them to the point of being nearly weightless.

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- Anders Nelson

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Jim Jarmusch
Stranger Than Paradise (1984)
Down by Law (1986)


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