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Dead Man

  • Directed by Jim Jarmusch
  • United States, 1995, 121 mins., English

Few cinematic collaborations have been more perfectly cast than Dead Man, Jarmusch’s legendary, incendiary “psychedelic Western.” The film follows William Blake (Johnny Depp), a downcast Cleveland accountant heading West to a new job. Rebuffed immediately, Blake quickly becomes embroiled in domestic scandal and is forced to flee, taking up with Nobody (Gary Farmer), a Native American man who confuses Blake for the poet of the same name, and is compelled to lead him to the spirit world. Meanwhile, figures as diverse as Crispin Glover, Robert Mitchum, Iggy Pop, and Billy Bob Thornton appear along the journey. Featuring luminous black-and-white cinematography by longtime Jarmusch and Wim Wenders collaborator Robby Müller and an improvised electric guitar soundtrack by Neil Young, Dead Man is a masterpiece of languid mood and dissonance. “This is the Western Andrei Tarkovsky always wanted to make. Even the references to [William] Blake are justified. It’s a visionary film.”—J. Hoberman, The Village Voice.

Genres: Psycadelic, Western

Other Films by Jim Jarmusch

Mystery Train

Jarmusch fashions a triptych of stories centered around Memphis’s Arcade Hotel while tapping into the intensely American mythology of Elvis and the birth of mainstream rock ‘n’ roll. Two Japanese teenagers (Masatoshi Nagase and Youki Kudoh) tour Memphis and Sun Studios; a newly-widowed Italian woman (Nicoletta Braschi) prepares to leave Memphis to return her deceased

Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai

A highly idiosyncratic take on the samurai film, Jarmusch’s tale of a lone, pigeon-keeping hit man (Forest Whitaker) removes the warrior from feudal Japan and places him in modern-day Jersey City. Ghost Dog, as he is known, is a strict follower of Hagakure (the way of the samurai). He spends his days at the park