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Dead Man (1995)
My Favorite Movie of All Time
I can understand how this masterpiece of a motion picture would inspire somebody to make films. My Father is an avid Jarmusch fan and lent me the film Dead Man in 2001 when I was 16, I know I only watched it as a sexually obsessed school-girl longing for some Depp action, but what it actually did to me was something entirely different.
Atmosperically guided by a soulfully dark score by Neil Young often a lone guitar riff, the film is as cool as the fingertips of God. 'Dead Man's loose coolness allows for a freedom within the script and the characters that the director wields with delicacy and expertise. By this I mean that although some of the dialogue may come across as mysterious and cryptic, possibly meaningless to some, the characters are given gifts in the form of perfect style that allows them to be whole.
The film is perfect. How can Film Noir be Western? and how can Native American wisdom be coupled with British Georgian poetry? Obviously with some ease at the hands of a talented man. These splicings are amongst others veined through the events of the film and make up a large part of that which draws a viewer into an actual relationship with the film and fuels burning interest in it down to each single word uttered in the dialogue. Visually, 'Dead Man' is attractive, with the strangeness or beauty of the actors, and the lighting and landscape, often barren or harsh, that sets a wonderful Gothic playground for Blake and Nobody and the pursuers.
Almost adverse to sexy choreographed gun toting, 'Dead Man' shows Blake's clumsy murders as quirky and almost innocent, and they become stylised with 'cool' as Blake's poetry begins to write itself in blood. Jarmusch shows beauty in the Death that occurs in the wake of his protagonists Nobody and Blake and nothing vulgar touches them. Ugliness in the film is associated with mis-laid priorities such as the emphasis on the return of the Pinto horse rather than the capture of a criminal, and incessant talking as mentioned by Gary farmer's character 'Nobody' "he who talks loud, say nothing" and embodied by the character John Scholfield who eventually dies at the hand of an unwilling listener to his permanent tide of nonsense.
Mismatched as they are wonderful or funny, the partnerships of the film are perfect, Nobody (Gary Farmer) the educated tribal outcast and William Blake (Johnny Depp the quiet accidental 'killer of white men' begin to illustrate the closeness of brothers through their misunderstandings and differences as they walk their destiny together. Believed by Nobody to be the true William Blake from the spirit world, Bill Blake from Cleveland, becomes indebted to his new friend who keeps him alive despite the difficulty of there being a fatal bullet wound in his body. The Trio of Philistine-hating vagabonds, the two bald marshals and the three grudging killers are amongst other well-formed partnerships that keep the plot afloat.
Whilst violent but comic and perhaps at times unnerving, 'Dead Man' is casual while it is gripping, and involving while it is time-less and dream-like. With the gritty beauty of an imperfect lover that is perfect to you, 'Dead Man' is personal and passionately love-able. With 'Dead Man' Jarmusch has achieved an essence of poetic masterdom of all things being possible, to love a murderer, for example, where similarly of William Blake the Georgian Poet, in the words of a critic "proclaimed the supremacy of the imagination over the rationalism and materialism of the 18th-century".
I watch this film a few times per year just to witness it's genius and allure, the way one might perhaps visit the Mona Lisa every so often if one lived by the Louvre.
Deux frères (2004)
Coming of age adventure story
I think this movie is very special. Dramatically it is a successful story; we watching are being taught a valuable lesson about savouring life. The movie is supposed to appeal to both children and adults as do most U ratings I think, but Two Brothers does this especially well by giving the two brothers human allies, one adult and one child. Interestingly the child 'Raoul' befriends the beast that grows to be most ferocious. There is much beauty to feast upon in Two Brothers but there are fright elements, comedy, drama, suspense, thrill, romance; it is such a well rounded story. There is also a constant squabbling conflict between what is more important; human history and tradition or The animal Kingdom, the Jungle, what grows up around us and lives with us. It is interesting to see that humans seem to destroy both civilisation and nature. But the two protagonists of this film change many mind-sets without words. Pretty Cool. If I ever have children I would like them to see this movie.