In Which I Review “Dead Man”, a Jim Jarmusch Film

The boyfriend and I watched a great movie the other night. It’s an indie style western filmed in 1995 by director Jim Jarmusch and starring Benny and Joon-era Johnny Depp (my favorite Johnny decade).

The film follows William Blake (Depp) as he travels from Cleveland to the rough West,  believing he he has a job in a small town called Machine. When he arrives, they not so politely inform him that someone else took the job while they were waiting for him. Lonely and defeated, he seeks out the company of a very pretty woman he meets in a bar.

When her fiance walks in on the pair of them, William is put in a difficult position, a position that ultimately ends up with his face on a wanted poster and a bullet lodged in his ribcage, just above his heart.

The film follows William on his journey to death, and documents the changes he goes through a person when there is nothing left to lose.

With a soundtrack by Neil Young, this film sounded great and looked great in black and white. Johnny sported a sweater vest and hat similar to his Benny and Joon costume (which, if you have not seen Benny and Joon, then you must immediately!) and a drawn, serious face that Johnny does not usually wear these days (what with all of his crazy  person roles).

His main accomplice, a Native American named Nobody, accompanies him on his journey until the very end, helping him dodge the authorities and receive a proper burial. Nobody is a very interesting character because he lived in London for a short time, and has an even greater dislike for white men because he lived among them. His relationship with William is formed on the basis that Nobody believes William is the poet William Blake, and Nobody has  a great admiration for his poetry.

Together the two of them trek across the California landscape, dodge the law, and form a bond that, even in the few short days it exists, remains profound long after it is cut short.

Loved this movie. It isn’t for everyone – definitely distinct. But I still say go watch it.


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