alfred molina, billy bob thornton, crispin glover, dead man, gabriel byrne, gary farmer, hulu plus, iggy pop, jared harris, jim jarmusch, johnny depp, lance henriksen, machine, mccabe and mrs. miller, michael wincott, mili avital, netflix, Robby Müller, robert mitchum, william blake
Jim Jarmusch‘s 1995 film Dead Man is a curious one. Dead Man follows the travails of an accountant named William Blake, played as coolly as one would expect by Johnny Depp. Headed to the town of Machine (Jarmusch really outdoes himself in this one, starting with the name of the town), Blake is supposed to have a job as an accountant working for John Dickinson (played by badass Robert Mitchum in one of his final roles). However, when he arrives in town, he finds that the position is filled. Left in a place with no money and no job prospects, Blake flounders. His life changes when he shoots Dickinson’s son, Charlie (Gabriel Byrne). John Dickinson hires three assassins, “the best in this half of the world,” who seek out Blake and attempt to kill him. As Dickinson says, “The hunt is on…”
As he runs from his pursuers, Blake meets up with Native American Nobody (Gary Farmer) who helps him out and gives him spiritual guidance in more ways than one.
Here is the trailer:
One of the best things about Jarmusch is he weaves interesting cameos into his films. And there are several in this one – Crispin Glover playing a creepy fireman (no surprise there), Alfred Molina playing a missionary and the most bizarre of them all, a cross-dressing Iggy Pop (a Jarmusch regular, Billy Bob Thornton and Jared Harris as travelers fighting over who “gets” William Blake.
Dead Man is the most inventive western since Altman’s McCabe & Mrs. Miller and one well worth watching. This is arguably Jarmusch‘s finest film and has some of the finest photography of any film in the last 20 years courtesy of cinematographer Robby Müller. The soundtrack was scored masterfully by Neil Young, really adding a additional depth to the film.
This film is streaming on on Netflix and Hulu Plus. If you don’t already have Netflix or Hulu Plus, what are you waiting for? Get them. And watch Dead Man. You won’t be disappointed.