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Jim Jarmusch

The Dead Don’t Die – Jim Jarmusch (2019)

Jarmusch goes takes a stab at the zombie genre. This being a Jarmusch you will not be surprised when I say that the film is slow, minimalist and that Sqürl is in the soundtrack.

Jarmusch came up with an original reason for zombiefication, but for the largest part, this is a predictable zombie film. He has some amusing parts for famous actors/people, such as Bill Murray, Iggy Pop, Tom Waits and Tilda Swinton.

Like I said, no surprises, but an amusing film with cold humour. Towards the end Jarmusch starts to weave in morality which is quite overdone.

Night On Earth * Jim Jarmusch (1991)

IMDb.comFive cities, five taxis, five meetings of people who formerly did not know eachother in five short films. Because of the setting, “Night On Earth” is mostly built on the dialogues between the taxi driver and his passenger(s).

Jarmusch worked these few elements very well. In the first film a movie-scout meets a very young taxi driver (Winona Ryder) but both appear to have different views on carreer-planning.
In the second part, an Eastern German immigrant taxi driver picks up a man from Brooklyn with a very catchy laugh.
Another immigrant taxi driver we find in Paris who first picks up to other Africans and later a blind woman.
The taxi driver from Rome is a hilarious Italian whose mouth does not keep still for a second. He literally talks his nighly passanger to death.
More melancholic is the last ride in Helsinki where dramatic stories are shared between the driver and his three passangers.

“Night On Earth” makes a very amusing film.

Ghost Dog: The Way Of The Samurai * Jim Jarmusch (1999)

IMDb.comJim Jarmusch’ take on the Hagakure, the Japanese manual for the warrior from the early 18th century. The book is quoted extensively.

The Ghost Dog from the title is also the Samurai from the title. Ghost Dog is a contract killer who looks like a “gangsta”. This element gives Jarmusch the possibility to add some negroid gang elements to his film and fitting music. The third element of the film is Italian maffia because that is the world that Ghost Dog gets his contracts from and with which he collides which forms the story of the film. The maffia elements of the film contain some black humour and references to films in the style.

These three pretty distinct elements Jarmusch managed to turn into a highly amusing whole. He even added his own way of filming: slow and minimalistic. I am not overly convinced by main part player Forest Whitaker, but this film is certainly entertaining when you like Jarmusch’ style.

It was about time that I saw an original and descent film.

Only Lovers Left Alive * Jim Jarmusch (2013)

It is quite easy to grind this film, but the latest Jarmusch is great. The grinding part would involve the worn-out vampire theme, the corny glorification of American literatury culture, obvious jokes, the advertisement for Jarmusch’s musical outlet Sqürl, etc., but nothing of that matters when it comes to the film in its entirety. The atmosphere is magnificent. The film is very slow and minimalistic, perfectly romantic and wonderfully surrealistic. The lovers from the title are the aged, but beautiful Eve (Tilda Swinton) and Adam (Tom Hiddleston) who try to live their lives in the 20th century and who after centuries of being together are still deeply in love.
Nothing much to tell about the story, “Only Lovers Left Alive” is a film that you have to undergo with its wonderfull filming and perfectly fitting music (drone/stoner like instrumental rock).

The Limits Of Control * Jim Jarmusch (2009)

The new Jarmusch is a very slow, minimalistic film in which we follow a pokerface “lone man” who is sent back and forth through Spain receiving all kinds of instructions, the purpose of which eludes the viewer. The “lone man” meets a range of strange people starting (semi-)intellectual monologues about a variety of subjects. These short talks are about the only talking you will hear in this film. The “lone man” seems to have his way to work out the clues he gets, but also here the viewer remains in the dark. You get it, “The Limits Of Control” is not your average film. Much in it does not seem to make any sense and until the end it is completely unclear what the goal of it all is. Jarmusch uses some quite obvious symbolism to give more (non-)clues, perhaps only to further confuse you. All in all an interesting film, with a typical ‘guitarscapes’ soundtrack, but not really a great one.

Dead Man * Jim Jarmusch (1995)

I actually went out to rent Jarmusch’ most recent film “The Limits Of Control”, but came back with this oldie that gets a 7.7 at IMdB. Indeed, “Dead Man” is a very good film. It is moody, minimalistic, nicely strange and with a lot of symbolism. The black-and-white filming and the Western-time setting look wonderfull and the acting is good. Inspite of all that, I liked the film a little less than that I found it interesting from a filmographic point of view. I cannot really say why though. Still, it is one of the better films that I saw recently. We follow a man called William Blake (Johnny Depp) who travels to the other end of the USA for a job, but ends up being a fugitive running into an (Amer)Indian who confuses him for the poet/painter with the same name that he admires. Nobody accompanies Blake on his journey.