In Jersey City, an African American hit man follows "Hagakure: The Way of the Samurai." He lives alone, in simplicity with homing pigeons for company, calling himself Ghost Dog. His master, who saved his life eight years ago, is part of the local mob. When the boss' daughter witnesses one of Ghost Dog's hits, he becomes expendable. The first victims are his birds, and in response, Ghost Dog goes right at his attackers but does not want to harm his master or the young woman. On occasion, he talks with his best friend, a French-speaking Haitian who sells ice cream in the park, and with a child with whom he discusses books. Can he stay true to his code? And if he does, what is his fate? Written by
The character Sonny Valerio is a big fan of Public Enemy. Jim Jarmusch was inspired to write this after reading that incarcerated Mafiosos loved listening to hardcore hip-hop. See more »
When Ghostdog was driving his first stolen car, the in-car scenes show the headlight on. But during the outside shots, it shows the headlight off, only the dimmer driving light on. Then later when he parked, it shows the headlight on again. See more »
The Way of the Samurai is found in death. Meditation on inevitable death should be performed daily. Every day when one's body and mind are at peace, one should meditate upon being ripped apart by arrows, rifles, spears, and swords. Being carried away by surging waves. Being thrown into the midst of a great fire. Being struck by lightning, being shaken to death by a great earthquake. Falling from thousand-foot cliffs, dying of disease, or committing seppuku at the death of one's ...
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Basically, Jim Jarmush's best (and most accessible) film; Forrest Whitaker's best performance (and the best performances by a host of little recognized but worthy character actors), the best sound track, best music from the RZA; - I mean, '90's film-making just couldn't get better than this, and if you're having trouble understanding this, then read some books and see some movies, because this is a film that does not talk "down" to its audience, but expects us to live up to it.
This is a film about the clash - and potential interweaving - of very different cultures. That the interweavings ultimately become untethered, is solely because we are not yet ready to live up to the promise of being a "multi-cultural" melting-pot that we have always promised ourselves we'd become.... But that doesn't give us any right to lose hope or stop trying.
Ghost Dog is the spirit of this possible future. We don't have to have the worst of every culture, we could actually bring together the best.
Magnificently written, shot, performed - and, despite a grim finale, one of the most optimistic films on this topic I've ever seen.
It's a good book - I recommend it.
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