Dead Man (1995) / Z-View

Dead Man (1995)

Director:  Jim Jarmusch

Screenplay by:  Jim Jarmusch

Starring:  Johnny Depp, Gary Farmer, Crispin Glover, Lance Henriksen, Michael Wincott, Eugene Byrd, John Hurt, Robert Mitchum, Iggy Pop, Gabriel Byrne, Mili Avital  and Billy Bob Thornton

Tagline:  Sometimes it is preferable not to travel with a dead man.

The Overview:  Beware of spoilers…

William Blake (Depp), a mild-mannered accountant, travels by train to a small town on the edge of the frontier.  There he meets a prostitute named Thel (Avital) who takes him home.  The next morning Thel’s ex-boyfriend, Charlie (Byrne) confronts Blake and Thel while they’re still in bed.  Charlie shoots at Blake.  The bullet hits (and kills) Thel and then strikes Blake in the chest when the bullet passes through her.  Blake picks up Thel’s gun and kills Charlie.  Blake then hightails it out of town.

Although he escaped into the wilderness, Blake’s chest wound is serious.  He passes out.  When he comes to he is surprised to find a huge Native American named Nobody (Farmer) standing over him.  Nobody says that the bullet is too close to his heart to be removed.  Blake is a walking dead man.  Nobody says he will help Blake prepare for his journey back to the spiritual world.  Along the way Blake has run-ins with many unusual characters including the three notorious killers hired by Charlie’s dad (Mitchum) to avenge his son’s murder.

Jim Jarmusch brought together an all-star cast to tell a strange, almost mesmerizing tale,  Dead Man was shot in black and white, with fadeouts after each scene enhanced by an improvised Neil Young soundtrack.  Truth be told, I started to watch Dead Man years ago and couldn’t get into it.  This time, I loved every minute.  Dead Man earns 4 of 5 stars.