Generally speaking, I have to duck when most people are feelingthe cool breeze of ignorance waft through their hair as something goes "over their heads." So something tells me that director Jim Jarmusch intended this western to be completely inscrutable, because there I was, crawling around on the sticky floor of the theater searching for my intellect amongst the half-eaten popcorn kernels and petrified Jujubes.
There are lots of reasons to hate Westerns, so why Jarmusch felt compelled to create all-new ones is beyond me. He must be upset that Westerns usually have a coherent story because William Blake (Johnny Depp) wanders around the West with no discernible direction. Jarmusch must hate scenery because his film is in black and white, which denied me the opportunity to admire the green of a tree while mired in the blackness of boredom. Jarmusch must hate continuity because every transition is marked by a fade in and a fade out. This technique is analogous to starting a book and following the reading of each page with a trip to Europe.
One might benefit from viewing the fade in/fade out technique as representing the stanzas of a poem; after all, William Blake meets an Indian named Nobody (Gary Farmer) who thinks Blake is the dead English poet whom he must return to the land of the spirits. The only catch is that all the stanzas end exactly the same way. I have a schizophrenic aunt who writes poetry like that. Jarmusch should hire her.
To spread the word about this Dead Man review on Twitter.To get instant updates of Mr. Cranky reviews, subscribe to our RSS feed.