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Dead Man is the story of a young man's journey, both physically and spiritually, into very unfamiliar terrain. William Blake travels to the extreme western frontiers of America sometime in the 2nd half of the 19th century. Lost and badly wounded, he encounters a very odd, outcast Native American, named "Nobody", who believes Blake is actually the dead English poet of the same name. The story, with Nobody's help, leads William Blake through situations that are in turn comical and violent. Contrary to his nature, circumstances transform Blake into a hunted outlaw, a killer, and a man whose physical existence is slowly slipping away. Thrown into a world that is cruel and chaotic, his eyes are opened to the fragility that defines the realm of the living. It is as though he passes through the surface of a mirror, and emerges into a previously-unknown world that exists on the other side. Written by
William Blake and Nobody come upon a trading post tent. When Nobody walks down the hill towards the tent, smoke from the chimney is blowing towards him, but when the camera angle changes, it's blowing away from him. See more »
Look out the window. And doesn't this remind you of when you were in the boat, and then later than 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?"
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At the end of the credits, "Whahappan?" appears just before the soundtrack information. See more »
When Jim Jarmush re-visit the "western genre", he does so with poetry
Originally from Cleveland, William Blake gets a job as an accountant in a place called "Machine Town". Already in the train that takes him to the Dickinson wood factory an "unknown guy" warn him against the place he is going to. It is not fortune that awaits him but Death. Indeed the first night in "Machine Town", Blake is shot at and wounded. From this point on start a long journey of wandering in company of Nobody, an Indian and a philosopher.
This black and white film is mesmerizing. Obviously the black and white marks a rupture between what you are used to So in essence this rupture is between let say classic Western and Jim Jarmush western as he re-visit the genre. It is also a way to keep the audience to what is essential Color is a filter that can distract you, the sobriety of black and white will not.
But what exactly is essential in that movie? Beside the fact that Mr. Jarmush depict a brutal and impulsive America, the movie opposes a new born civilization that is already collapsing and a dying one that is still shining But more than that the journey of William Blake is a metaphoric and circular voyage from misunderstanding to certitude. The guide Nobody, himself trapped between the two civilizations can not provide a cure to the passing man but may very well provide a path to a curing one. This journey from Machine Town, the "anti chamber" of hell to the sea, first step to Heaven is tremendously poetic and emotional. Also emotional is the evolution from misunderstanding to comprehension between Nobody and William Blake who eventually settles on what is essential reaching a common ground, clarity
Help by a haunting and beautiful score from Neil Young and an extraordinary cast the film succeed in transforming the wood wagon of hell in which William Blake embarks to the wooden vessel to heaven in which he will lie.
One of the best films from Mr. Jarmush, Dead Man manages to take the audience in one of cinema most poetic journey
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