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[personal profile] innocent_man
Dead Man is a bizarre, black and white Western directed by Jim Jarmusch and starring fucking everybody. Seriously. The star is Johnny Depp, but we have significant roles from Michael Wincott, Gary Farmer, Lance Henriksen, Gabriel Byrne, Iggy Pop, Billy Bob Thorton, Crispin Glover...yi.

So, Depp is an accountant named Bill Blake who spends his last dime moving from Cleveland to waaaay the fuck out west to take a job in a factory town. He discovers that his job has been given away, and the boss (Robert Mitchum) threatens to kill him before he can get a complaint out. He shows a bit of kindness to a young woman (Millie Avital), goes to bed with her, and then her ex (Byrne) shows up and shoots her. Blake shoots him dead and flees, and is found by a Native man name Nobody (Farmer)...but he's got two problems.

One, the dude he shot was the boss' son. Two, the bullet that killed the woman also lodged in his heart, and is killing him. Nobody, upon learning that his name is William Blake, assumes he's the poet (Nobody is extremely well-traveled and well-read, and he stops just short of being a magical Negro). He tells Blake that the pistol is how he'll write his last poems - he's going to kill people. And he's going to die. There's no question about that; Blake is the titular Dead Man.

Meanwhile, the boss hires Wincott, Henriksen and Eugene Byrd as three bounty hunters to hunt down and kill Blake. Their journey is just as interesting as Blake's, and just as tragic.

The movie is slow, but well worth sticking with. The performances, Depp, Farmer and Wincott especially, are amazing (Henriksen is also noteworthy because of how much he does with so little dialog). Every character is memorable, though, and even when the "bad guys" are the ones dying, you sort of feel for them, because you've learned about them. Deadlands claims this movie, but bullshit. This movie is 100% Fiasco.

Oh, and Michelle tells me that the portrayal of Native people in the movie is excellent, but I'm not as well-educated on the subject as she is, so I'll take her word for it.

My grade: A
Rewatch value: Dunno. I'm inclined to say low, but I just saw it for the first time.

Next up: Dead Poet's Society

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January 2013

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