Two innocent people are arrested. An interesting third person, with broken English, joins them in their cell. On his idea, they decide to escape from the prison. Their journey is the rest of the movie.
As the extremely withdrawn Don Johnston is dumped by his latest woman, he receives an anonymous letter from a former lover informing him that he has a son who may be looking for him. A freelance sleuth neighbor moves Don to embark on a cross-country search for his old flames in search of answers.
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
Premiered at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival. See more »
After William Blake and Nobody walk down to the trading post tent, William takes off his hat and is holding it in his right hand. When the camera angle changes, he is holding it in his left hand. 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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In between the Set Production Assistants and First Assistant Editor is the "Hangin'-out Guy," Nemo Labrizzi. See more »
On the run after murdering a man, accountant William Blake (Johnny Depp) encounters a strange Indian named "Nobody" (Gary Farmer) who prepares him for his journey into the spiritual world.
Okay, we have an amazing cast here: Lance Henriksen, Billy Bob Thorton, Crispin Glover, Iggy Pop, and Robert Mitchum's final role. That automatically counts for something. And we have the whole thing shot in glorious black and white, which is all too uncommon since the 1960s. That is another point.
Now, on the other hand, commercially, the movie lost a boatload of money (making only about 10% of what it cost) and ranks as the most expensive of Jarmusch's films.
And critically, it has mixed reviews. Roger Ebert was not a fan of the film, giving it less than two stars and saying, "Jim Jarmusch is trying to get at something here, and I don't have a clue what it is." He calls it "a strange, slow, unrewarding movie" and says the score "sounds like nothing so much as a man repeatedly dropping his guitar." Others, such as Jonathan Rosenbaum and A. O. Scott, have called it one of the best films of the 1990s.
I happened to like it, though I did not fully appreciate the William Blake references (as well as Tom Petty references). But that is my loss, not Jarmusch's fault. And I am not sure I got the message, if there is one. And I still like "Broken Flowers" better... but there is still much to love here.
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