Dead Man

on May 10, 1996 by BOXOFFICE Staff
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Set in the American West of the 19th century, "Dead Man" concerns the physical and spiritual journey of a young man, Bill Blake (Johnny Depp), into unfamiliar and threatening terrain. Lost in the wilderness, naive and wounded, Blake encounters a Native American named Nobody (Gary Farmer) who believes he is actually the dead poet William Blake. Nobody leads Blake through situations both comical and violent, until eventually he becomes a hunted outlaw who must confront his own mortality.
   Jim Jarmusch's latest film combines both the best and worst elements of his work. Technically, it's superior: Robby Muller's extraordinarily rich black-and-white cinematography lends the film a distinctive texture. On the soundtrack, Neil Young's electric guitar is evocative and mesmerizing. However, the entire work doesn't gel. Depp is fine and Farmer especially good, but the film is undeniably slow and Jarmusch's propensity for whimsy here comes off as flat and random, rather than inspired. Starring Johnny Depp, Gary Farmer, Gabriel Byrne, Lance Henriksen, John Hurt and Mili Avital. Directed and written by Jim Jarmusch. Produced by Demetra J. Mac-Bride. A Miramax release. Western. Not yet rated. Running time: 129 min.
Tags: Starring Johnny Depp, Gary Farmer, Gabriel Byrne, Lance Henriksen, John Hurt, Mili Avital, Directed and written by Jim Jarmusch. Produced by Demetra J. Mac-Bride, Miramax, Western
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