Dead Man - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Dead Man Reviews

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July 14, 2014
Jim Jarmusch directs this odd black and white western starring Johnny Depp as William Blake, an accountant who gets mixed up with the poet of the same name by a Native American called Nobody, and with the outlaw with the same name by others pursuing him. The film is pretty entertaining, and moves in that wonderful slow way Jim Jarmusch specializes in. The music by Neil Young is excellent, and Jarmusch's visual direction is wonderful. I really enjoyed this offbeat western.
June 29, 2014
When I watched this masterpiece for the first time, I was too young and inexperienced to appreciate it as much as I do now.
June 18, 2014
"I don't like to engage in telling stories. I don't like to arouse the viewer emotionally or give him advice. I don't like to belittle him or burden him with a sense of guilt. Those are the things I don't like in the movies. I think a good film is one that has a lasting power and you start to reconstruct it right after you leave the theater. There are a lot of films that seem to be boring, but they are decent films. On the other hand, there are films that nail you to the seat and overwhelm you to the point that you forget everything, but you feel cheated later. These are the films that take you hostage. I absolutely don't like the films in which the filmmakers take their viewers hostage and provoke them. I prefer the films that put their audience to sleep in the theater. I think those films are kind enough to allow you a nice nap and not leave you disturbed when you leave the theater. Some films have made me doze off in the theater, but the same films have made me stay up at night, wake up thinking about them in the morning, and keep on thinking about them for weeks. Those are the kind of films I like."


Abbas Kiarostami
May 5, 2014
Jim Jarmusch is a fairly innovative filmmaker and it is interesting to see him taking on different genres within the limitations of independent filmmaking, and a western with Johnny Depp directed by him is an not a film to miss.

Clearly Jim Jarmuschâ(TM)s most expensive movie as a way to ensure that he captured the right detail for the setting of his story, Dead Man is a bold move on his behalf which is packed with plenty of determined ambition.
The story in Dead Man is an interesting one, and it is great that Jim Jarmusch himself is the man to be telling it. As I say in every review of a Jim Jarmusch film, people not familiar with his style or opposed to it are likely to find themselves alienated by Dead Man, and the fact that the film is a western which means that it follows a slow pace combined with the already slow pace of each Jim Jarmusch film is another driving force. To put it blankly, Dead Man has a slow pace over the course of its running time of 115 minute running due to both the genre of the film and the directorâ(TM)s style, so it is not a film for the easily impatient. Admittedly even I was thrown off by the pace of the film at the beginning of it due to the amount of time it would take for the story to develop and the protagonist, but once things began to manifest themselves into becoming the unforgettable film that Dead Man would later turn out to be, it became immensely interesting.
Dead Man becomes great as the gritty western themes begin to seep into the film. It starts out as a western drama but gradually develops into a more trippy and psychedelic film as it goes on, and itâ(TM)s a Western film like no other. Adopting the counterculture theme seen in many Acid Westerns during the 1960â(TM)s and 1970â(TM)s decades, Jim Jarmusch brings back some original themes from long ago for Dead Man which makes it an interesting film thanks to the strength of its nostalgic theme. Dead Man looks into Western themes not commonly touched upon by the more mainstream additions to Western cinema and it therefore establishes its own sort of genre, the psychedelic western genre which Jim Jarmusch has coined the name of. Jim Jarmusch's stylish handling of Dead Man make the story a mesmerising venture which is also intelligently scripted with a touch of black humour as well, and those who can appreciate the film for what it is should truly enjoy it. I know I did, because Dead Man was one of the most refreshing twists on the western genre that I have seen in a long time.

The cinematography in Dead Man defies the stereotypical western archetype and instead adopts a more noir theme which has it shooting from up very close to capture the tense facial gestures of the cast while also shooting from a distance to ensure that the scale of the story is maintained. It keeps the mood of the film constantly very trippy which establishes the atmosphere of the feature. The visual aspects of Dead Man combine with its musical score to make everything feel empty and directionless which is the true nature of the west, and it captures the incredible production design and the gritty nature of everything that is happening. So Dead Man is arguably one of Jim Jarmusch's most twisted and complicated pieces which is atmospherically rich.
Dead Man is very interesting from a technical perspective in terms of how its musical score was created. Neil Young improvised many guitar pieces as he watched footage of the film which Jim Jarmusch would later implement in, and that is terrific because it makes everything feel organically timed when it comes to the musical score. Not just that, but the music in Dead Man gives the atmosphere the trippy and psychedelic edge that it really needs to achieve an acid western feel. The music emphasises the grim silence of the world by coming from nowhere and reminding audiences of the silence with music which establishes the mood but doesn't break the silence. In some odd way, the music makes Dead Man seem even quieter because it is like the ultimate apect of the film which gets viewers into the mind of protagonist William Blake and makes us understand what is going on in his head. Nothing is happening because nothing makes sense, and it feels almost as if the music emphasises his bleak confusion. There are a lot if ways to interpret the music in Dead Man, and the effect it has on the film and the viewer is grand.
And when it gets to the cast, Dead Man boasts a lot of talent.
Johnny Deppâ(TM)s lead performance in Dead Man is one of the strongest driving forces behind the immense success of Dead Man. The complicated character he faces is like none other in Dead Man, and it is excellent to see him taking on such a character-driven role in a low key film. The man is more famous for his multi-million dollar grossing films such as the Pirates of the Caribbean series or his works with Tim Burton, so for him to take on the role of Jim Jarmuschâ(TM)s creation William Blake is just terrific. You can see him start off as a small time accountant as he gradually gets dragged into the harsh reality of the postmodern west, and from there he develops at a slow pace which fits into the context of a Jim Jarmusch film. Dead Man features some of Johnny Depp's best talents outside his reputation as a character actor because he really restrains himself with his performance, and the effect is brilliant. Johnny Depp is silent for much of Dead Man, and the mere expressions on his face say more than words ever could, so Dead Man certainly features one of his best film performances.
Gary Farmer's role as Nobody, a strong and opinionated Native American who was forcibly raised by whites and later given the mocking name "He Who Talks Loud, Saying Nothing" is unlike any Native American I have ever seen in a western film before. Attempting to stay true to his roots but succumbing to how he has been raised, Nobody is an odd character. But Gary Farmer takes on the eccentric character very well and through his rough line delivery and consistent emotional strength, he works the material very well and becomes the source of many laughs in Dead Man for its black humour. Gary Farmer is terrific in Dead Man.
Crispin Glover gives a firm performance because the instant he comes on screen in Dead Man, audiences see some of the understanding of the west that William Blake would later grow into. Crispin Glover establishes his character of the Train Fireman as a man who has stayed alive in the west somehow for so long, and as he mentors William Blake on how to survive by facing the unexpected, he creates a strong chemistry with Johnny Depp. It is great to see them working together considering that 15 year later they would again star in the high profile feature Alice in Wonderland, so to see them both in gritty low profile filmmaking in Dead Man is entertaining and nostalgic as well.
John Hurt's small appearance is also a nice touch as it always is with a Jim Jarmusch film, and Robert Mitchum's final film performance gives the film another little gritty touch to the film. It is great to know that his last film appearance is in a film of the quality that Dead Man is.

So Dead Man is slower than the average western, but it's psychedelic mood and approach to its themes shows the endeavour of Jim Jarmusch's talents, and that combined with Johnny Depp's lead performance makes it my favourite Jim Jarmusch film to date.
April 29, 2014
Love the Jarmusch - Depp combo, but overall I found DEAD MAN to be exhausting. Although I must say that the electric guitar throughout is the coolest thing I've heard all week
½ April 25, 2014
Sparse, meditative fable on mortality.
April 23, 2014
Anyone who would invest 9 million dollars in a Black and White Anything (anything----movie - TV - 8mm home movie) should be COMMITTED - STERILIZED - AND THEN HUNG
½ April 18, 2014
A very stark and controlled film; one that can be both rewarding and frustrating at times.
½ April 17, 2014
An artsy mix of dark comedy and the surreal west, Jim Jarmusch's Dead Man is a decidedly interesting movie at least. Johnny Depp stars, an I enjoyed his performance, but he is in fact overshadowed by a funny, scene-stealer Gary Farmer, who is great as the native american Nobody. The script is boldly original and really effective when it tries to be- the main issue the film has is a sense of drive at all, even the scenes that should be intense feel lulled and never really develop any momentum. Overall it was a good wholly original flick with some issues. 3.5/5
April 8, 2014
Este western experimental de Jim Jarmusch nos trae a un joven Johnny Depp, quien interpreta a William Blake, un contador de Cleveland que había perdido recientemente a sus padres, que viaja al remoto pueblo de Machine en base a una oferta de empleo que había recibido. Su largo y viaje bizarro termina en un pueblo en el que nadie querría vivir. Al acudir a la las empresas Dickinson, el dueño le informa que el puesto había sido utilizado un mes antes. Desde entonces comenzará una serie de infortunios que llevaran a Blake a interactuar con pieles rojas, encontrarse consigo mismo, y descubrir facetas que temía. Un excelente thriller bastante sicológico también. Absolutamente recomendable, en especial por la banda sonora de Neil Young.
April 2, 2014
A fine picture. Jim Jarmusch puts his creative spin on social issues in this "acid" western. Natives, cannibals and cross dressers. This movie has it's hands in everything. Johnny Depp delivers a solid performance while never leaving low simmer. Also note this movie is worth watching just for the "indie" star cameos. Robert Mitchum still brings menace in his last big picture performance. I recommend this film. Enjoy and leave it to your own interpretation...
½ March 31, 2014
Maybe it tried too hard, or maybe I'm just not cool enough to really "get it" But the cinematography was pretty amazing. And I did keep watching so there's that.....
½ March 28, 2014
a straightforward artistic representation of the Western American world at that time, (and the southern American world at this time.) Jarmusch did a good job of setting the stage, but the content came off as bland, with only sprinkles of depth.
March 3, 2014
The initial train sequence alone is worth the ticket.
Great movie, with perfect actors, picture, soundtrack, everything.
Cannot say more: I have to go buy some tobacco!
½ February 21, 2014
Fucking hell, man. Talk about tightrope grace.
Super Reviewer
January 27, 2014
Another black and white film by Jim Jarmusch that is an original character study involving the stories protagonist William Blake played by Johnny Depp. In the beginning of the film we see his character, who is wearing a suit and spectacles, arrives too late to a potential job and thus losses it to another fellow. He befriends a local prostitute whom after only a few words he sleeps with and that sets into motion the film, the event that would define his life. A distraught ex-lover of the woman enters the room and after some harsh words between the two, the man shoots his ex while she is diving in front of Blake, still dumbfounded next to her on the bed. William Blake (Depp) then in return shoots at, and after several misses, hits the ex-lover and kills him. The father of the now deceased man puts a bounty out on Blake, saying that he is responsible for killing both his son and his fiancée. Going forward and while being on the run, Blake has been mortally wounded in the previous shootout between the ex-lover and himself and ultimately passes out from the pain of the wound out in the woods. He awakens to meet an Indian named simply "Nobody" who mistake him for the English poet of the same name, deciding to be his guide to the Spirit World. Meanwhile the three men hired to pursue Blake are on there trail, each deadlier than the last.
I rather enjoyed the film as Jarmusch films are anything but unoriginal and the black and white photography is rich and sets a sobering mood to fit the story into. There is plenty of shootouts and action despite primarily being a character study and adding many dimensions to each in the film. Dead Man certainly isn't for everyone and there is some very adult content within. This being said it is also an original, well shot, and excels at being a fun and adventurous character study and seeing Depp's character go from ordinary man to a cold-blooded killer.
½ January 16, 2014
This is a dreamy vision of a man awaiting his death while on the run. It's incredibly poetic & hypnotic, the music is incredibly good, Johnny Depp is fantastic in this distorted western black & white movie. One of the best film of the year 1995.
January 15, 2014
Dead Man feels like a western directed by David Lynch in his early period, complete with stark black and white cinematography, surreal happenings, and some very interesting characters to keep us engaged n the story. Jarmusch's trademark off beat humor works to the films benefit as we become increasingly more and more accustomed to the ever likeable main characters. Johnny Depp as the accountant turned killer has a fascinating journey to follow, but by far the best character in the film is Gary Farmer as Nobody, arguably one of the most layered characters in recent western cinema. An of these elements alone would've made the film good, but what really elevates the material is the highly poetic, postmodernist take upon such a familiar genre that makes it a must see film for those who believe they have seen it all when it comes to the American genre. A strange little film that must be seen to be believed.
January 8, 2014
Amazing symbolist picture, an iniciatic journey, a masterpiece, including the music. Reminds me of Juan Rulfo's Pedro Páramo. There's always more than meets the eye.
½ January 8, 2014
A film largely based on metaphors and religious subtext, Dead Man offers a different type of coming-of-age story about a well-endowed realist named William Blake (coincidentally named after the famous poet) who, after running from the law, goes through a life-changing experience with the help of a Native American fellow who teaches him about the importance of romanticism and different world perspectives. Though this film does leave the viewer confused in its allegory and cliffhanger-like ending, it also leaves the viewer wondering about their own path, and is open to much interpretation.
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