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As the extremely withdrawn Don Johnston is dumped by his latest woman, he receives an anonymous letter from a former lover informing him that he has a son who may be looking for him.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.
This 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 second half of the nineteenth 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.
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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This Film is Dedicated to the Memory of Dick Peiffer and Paul D. O'Brien See more »
Dead Man is a unique piece of film. As this is my first taste of Jim Jarmusch, I had no idea of what to expect, but even if I had; I reckon that this film wouldn't have conformed to them. Dead Man is a surreal and trippy western that peels itself away from the staples of the genre and succeeds in creating something truly one-off and self-styled. Lead by a score written by Neil Young, Dead Man is continually satisfying and powerful; and you get the impression that every scene has been fully thought through, and is perfectly realised as the auteur intended. For this reason, Dead Man captivates it's viewer from the moment it starts until the moment it ends, and as it descends into full blown trippy weirdness, you can do nothing but stare in admiration of this strange gem of cult cinema. The plot is thin on the ground and it largely lacks meaning, but it doesn't matter because Dead Man is a purely aesthetic experience. Still, it follows William Blake (Johnny Depp), an accountant from Cleveland that arrives in a town to take a job offer, only to find that the vacancy has already been filled
Dead Man is filmed in very stark black and white, which only adds to the surrealism of the story. Had this film have been done in colour, it would not have captured the same atmosphere that the black and white gives it; and so this decision was an inspired one indeed. One staple of the western genre that Jarmusch is keen to retain is the use of close-ups. The director spends a lot of time caressing Depp's facial features with his camera and, at times, even focuses on his lead actor when the action doesn't concern him. Aside from keeping in with the western tradition, this also allows Jarmusch to keep the focus on the main character, which keeps the viewer focused on his plight. For this film, Jarmusch has put together a cast of B-movie icons that will have B-movie fans foaming at the mouth. Crispin Glover, Robert Mitchum, Billy Bob Thornton, Lance Henriksen, Gabriel Byrne, John Hurt, Alfred Molina and even Iggy Pop feature and it's great to see so many faces in the same movie. The cast is, of course, lead by a man who is perhaps today's best actor; Johnny Depp. Depp's name on a credit list speaks for itself, and I don't need to tell you that his performance is great; nor do I need to point out the effortless cool that this movie exudes, largely thanks to the great man's presence. My only advice is see it...see it now.
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