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8,982 Ratings

Dead Man

Directed by Jim Jarmusch
United States, Germany, 1995
Western, Fantasy


An outcast Native American named Nobody leads a man named William Blake, who is on the run after murdering a man, into a spiritual world in the wild west.

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Dead Man Directed by Jim Jarmusch
Were the opening of Dead Man a self-contained short film, those few minutes would still stand as one of the great revisionist Westerns. At its best, Jim Jarmusch’s minimal, no-wave filmmaking is poetic in the style of e e cummings: no punctuation, full of sequence gaps, and making the avant-garde oddly palatable by stripping it to the bone.
May 16, 2016
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The film itself is cinematic poetry, reflecting seemingly incomprehensible ideas of the natural world. It reads as a poem and even moves like one, with the quiescent interludes providing breaks between stanzas of rhythmic action.
August 02, 2013
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Jarmusch’s ability to transform knowingly and intentionally goofy material into real intelligence puts him closer in sensibility to Hollywood’s great western directors than any of the other revivalists, who don’t seem to have much awareness that anyone made westerns before Sam Peckinpah. Aided by Robby Müller’s black-and-white photography (his best work after Wender’s Road Trilogy), Jarmusch gets a tense linearity to his images, a sort of languid reimagining of Anthony Mann or Budd Boetticher.
August 12, 2011
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What are people saying?

  • tidal waif's rating of the film Dead Man

    In music supergroups are often failures. Somebody told me that in football too. Here is the proof that film aligns. Jarmusch is a confirmed sommité who can afford to summon up a heap of famed and glorious in his cinema potions, but this is like a vainglorious heraldic show, a veterans parade ringing with past ovations but hollow in itself. From chameleonic roles we've disembarked in a cameo-nic Jacobean Long Gallery.

  • Daniel S.'s rating of the film Dead Man

    Initiatory journey through a haunting b&w landscape. Neil Young's musical score is adequate and the cast is stellar. Until now, Jarmush annoyed me so I was literally blown away by this work. Masterpiece.

  • Stefan Drees's rating of the film Dead Man

    Laconic, with beautiful black and white photography, a slow voyage into the realms of death. One of my favorites of Jim Jarmusch. I always wonder how he got the idea to create an Indian called "Nobody" who turns out to be a connoisseur of William Blake's poetry. But the idea of poetry is very important: The shorter or longer sequences (always separated by blackouts) appear to be filmic reflections on poetic pictures.

  • Wee Hunk's rating of the film Dead Man

    I liked his first film a lot, but I quickly grew disenchanted with him. This one is not bad. I loved Nobody. I consider it a bad sign when 'King-of-cool' or 'hip cast' are used in the description. I don'always t like cool, except for Steve McQueen and Paul Newman, and I hate the whole concept of hip. Hip usually means pretentious nonsense. Some of the violent bits could have been edited out.

  • Duncan Gray's rating of the film Dead Man

    Jarmusch's best film, or just his most robustly plotted? Compared to Down By Law, this is an action movie, but Jarmusch stays an ideal observer of the USA, focusing not on landmarks or vistas but the view from the ground. This is one of his funniest and most propulsively entertaining, a Western parody and allegory where modern commerce and age-old spirituality both seem to sprout naturally from the American soil.

  • Ethan's rating of the film Dead Man

    Bob and Harvey Weinstein bought this film sight unseen thinking that a Western directed by Jim Jarmusch and starring Johnny Depp would kill in every demographic. When they realized what they had they didn't know what to do with it so they dumped it. Which is a damn shame because this is one of the most beautiful and spiritual Westerns ever made. Which shows Johnny Depp can do a good Western.

  • Zac Weber's rating of the film Dead Man

    I can't help but find Jarmusch's technique fascinating. The western revisionism here produces a great cultural testament to Native Americans, a rarity for the silver screen. Neil Young's improvised soundtrack mixed with Johnny Depp reading the poetry of William Blake adds color to the stark black-and-white images.

  • Zachary T.'s rating of the film Dead Man

    Look out the window. And doesn't this remind you of when you were in the boat, and then later that 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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