This is a difficult film, to watch and to review. On the one hand, it's a beautiful artistic exercise from the always inventive and brilliant Aryan Kaganof. On the other, its a catalog of overly offensive debasement by bodily fluids. The opening scene is one so revolting I've tried my best to block it out of my mind and would really not like to recall it for you, the reader of this review. Maybe that's a bit unfair of me, but it's clear Kaganof meant it as an opening punch right to the solar plexus that will divide an audience: Those who will stay and those who will run out in horror. I did stay and, remember, I did say that the film is a beautiful artistic exercise. The film is gorgeously shot in an old bar full of degenerates. They drink while Waco burns. Into this place, which I took to be the afterlife, an elderly man, presumably the eponymous title character, enters to witness as much ennui as there is obscenity. It's also a place where a woman urinating off of a bar triggers a horrific memory of an assault back among the living. The dead man becomes resigned to his fate, much like the viewer must become resigned to the terrible visions thrust upon him. Lots of films tackle the issue of life after death, but this is one of the most wondrous, complicated visions of it. And lots of filmmakers try to take on the title of "provocateur," but few take it to the level that Kaganof brings it in Dead Man II.
Originally written by Mike Everleth for Bad Lit: The Journal of Underground Film.
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